Joe Morris has had both legs amputated in the last two years after suffering from hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy (HSAN) which affects his muscles, tendons and nerves. The 20-year-old lifelong Barnsley supporter, who also has autism, has grown close to Hedges since the player got in touch after seeing a tweet by Joe’s father Andy.
The Wales international has been meeting Joe roughly once a month for the last year at Toby Carvery in Dodworth. Andy said: “Having both your legs amputated is a massive thing for anyone, especially an autistic teenager. But whenever Joe has been particularly down, I have contacted Ryan and he has changed his plans to meet up with us. He’s even introduced Joe to his girlfriend.
“Joe absolutely adores Ryan and I think the feeling is mutual. He’s got some of his signed boots and two of his shirts. As a family, we would like to thank him for everything he’s done.”
Hedges this week secured a move to Scottish club Aberdeen after rejecting Barnsley’s offer of a new deal. Andy said: “Joe is devastated but Ryan has told us that Joe can go up to Scotland to visit him and that has cheered him up a lot.”
Joe now walks with prosthetic legs and, after missing four years of action at Oakwell due to his condition, went back to being a regular fan last season. Andy said: “Joe’s aim was to walk into Oakwell for the first game of the 2018/19 season and he managed it. He went to ten home games during that season and his aim now is to better that next season.”