Talented Alex Attrill has made it to a national singing final after overcoming a horrendous football injury that threatened to ruin his career on and off the pitch.
The 21-year-old from Haywards Heath was on crutches for six months after a bad tackle left him with a medial and cruciate knee injury that required surgery and total rebuilding.
His parents, Amanda and Andre, said they were especially proud of him as it was touch and go whether Alex, who had just started at Brighton University, would be able to continue his PE Teaching degree.
But Alex recovered and is now in the third year of his course and fighting fit again.
The trainee PE teacher is also now fine tuning his vocal chords after winning a place in the national final of the Open Mic UK singing contest.
The final takes place at the NEC in Birmingham on January 18 and Alex, who went to Great Walstead School followed by Warden Park Academy, will be playing the piano as well as singing.
The former Crawley Town FC apprentice said: “I’m through, I can’t believe it! I am so grateful to have a great set of supporters who have been there for me throughout the competition.
“One more performance and I could be crowned winner of Open Mic UK 2013 - fingers crossed!”
Hundreds of hopefuls enter the Open Mic UK contest every year with the best taking part in regional heats and finals before a handful get selected for the national final.
Alex, who is in the 21 and over category, performed in the regional final at the Hove Centre in October and in the area final near Southampton in November.
He narrowly missed out on an automatic place in the final but got through on a wildcard after his name was put in a hat with other runners-up for the public to vote on. When voting closed Alex, who has never had a singing lesson, was announced as the winner for the south area.
Judges including Alex Baker from Kerrang Radio, head of Future Music Chris Grayston and music producer Mark Hill described him as having a ‘very clean look’ and ‘good vocals’
In the audience on January 18 will be talent spotters and record company executives as well as others from the entertainments industry. Prizes on offer include £5,000 cash and recording deals.