Lionel Messi donates to help amateur player hurt in hit-and-run


Barcelona star Lionel Messi is doing his part to help a pair of former footballers who are left unable to play again after serious injuries from a hit-and-run accident.

Shaun Whiter, 27, a former player for the non-league Newmarket Town FC in England, lost both of his legs when he was helping a friend on the side of the road change a tire in July. The friend, Joey Abbs, 31, suffered a serious leg injury.

Messi is the latest soccer star to pitch in and donate items, along with teammate Arda Turan. Wayne Rooney and John Terry have also donated signed shirts, among others. The collectibles will be auctioned off at an Oct. 9 fundraiser to help the pair of friends cover bills for medical treatment and physical therapy.

“I can't thank Lionel Messi and Arda Turan enough for donating their shirts and getting them to Cambridge,” Whiter told BBC.

Whiter, who will get married next year, does not want to give up on his sports career and said he is aiming to compete in the 2020 Paralympics.

“You've got to have a dream,” he said at a fundraiser last month. “You've got to start somewhere.”

The signed shirts donated from Messi and others are a small gesture, but one that will help Whiter and Abbs on the road to recovery.

The accident was ruled a hit-and-run, but the driver was caught and sentenced to three years and four months in prison on two charges of causing injury by dangerous driving.