Sunderland youngster who had his skull rebuilt TWICE defies the odds to take up karate

A Sunderland youngster who had his skull rebuilt twice has defied the odds to take up karate.

Thursday, 27th June 2019, 6:00 am

Clayton Strand, six, was born with a condition known as craniosynosis, which means that the bones of his skull had fused together before birth.

The sides of the Downhill youngster’s head were flat, causing pressure on the brain.

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Clayton Strand has overcome his health struggles to take up karate.

It saw doctors rebuild his skull to alleviate the pressure and make his head more round.

But Clayton’s health struggles were still far from over as just a year later, in September 2016, the brave little boy had to have his skull rebuilt a second time after pressure built up once more around his brain.

This time metal rods were fitted to make the back of the skull larger to alleviate pressure.

His mum Natalie Strand was tasked with turning the rods fitted in his skull twice a day, every day for eight weeks to stop the pressure rebuilding again.

Clayton Strand demonstrates his karate skills.

In January 2017 the rods were removed – but doctors still haven’t ruled out the possibility of further surgery on his skull.

Next month Clayton will return to Birmingham to receive his annual check up with medics to look at his progress.

Mum Natalie said her adorable little boy still has small holes where his skull hasn’t fused together and says doctors may decide he requires further surgery.

But despite his health struggles, Clayton continues to come back fighting – to the amazement of parents Natalie and George Strand.

Clayton Strand has battled back to health to take up karate.

Earlier this month the John Bosco RC Primary School pupil took up karate and has been enjoying every minute of it.

He attends a weekly class at St Cuthbert’s Church, Redhouse, along with children aged five to 13.

And mum Natalie couldn’t be prouder.

She said: “Clayton is doing really good.

Clayton Strand underwent surgery to rebuild his skull.

“I am really proud of him, he takes everything in his stride.

“He recently decided to have a go at karate and is really enjoying it.

“At first we didn’t think it was something he could do because he is not allowed to do certain contact sports, but he won’t be doing any fighting – it is just for exercise – although he will still get to do the belts.

“Taking up karate has given him a boost as he now knows that despite his condition he can still do things.”

Mum Natalie said: “After winning his award he took it into school with him the next day to show his friends.

Clayton Strand with mum Natalie, dad George and sister Leah Strand.

“It was put on the school's blog page and he even had to stand in assembly and tell everyone what he had done.

“The award really gave him a boost, he kept saying: ‘everyone thinks I’m brave!’”

Clayton Strand recovering after undergoing surgery on his skull.