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Jarrod Bowen Goes Above and Beyond for a Young Fan with Sensory Needs

Jarrod Bowen Goes Above and Beyond for a Young Fan with Sensory Needs

The prospect of becoming a mascot for a Premier League club is the dream of many kids in the UK. Not only does it come with the prospect of meeting their favourite players, but the children also get to experience the emotions of having thousands of fans applauding them before the game.

With that being said, the prospect of actually coming onto the pitch in front of over 60,000 screaming fans can be daunting for a young child too. That is what happened to a West Ham United supporter ahead of their Premier League game against Liverpool on April 26.

Of course, the atmosphere in the home games for the Hammers can be extremely loud and be met with a fever pitch just ahead of kick-off, with the home supporters trying to energize their players by loudly singing inspirational chants.

It’s normal for a child to be adversely affected by loud noise, especially when they’re under some pressure of acting as a mascot as well. West Ham winger Jarrod Bowen realized that the mascot assigned to come out with him ahead of the Liverpool clash had trouble with loud noise and did something admirably mature with him.

The English winger decided to calm the mascot down by getting him to wear noise-cancelling headphones that could block out the loud atmosphere inside the stadium. Moreover, to ensure that the child did not feel embarrassed about being the only mascot wearing the headphones and be victim to possible taunts later on – Bowen himself also decided to wear a pair of headphones himself for a matching look with the child.

Even though Bowen and his mascot were the only player and mascot duo among the 22 players on the pitch to wear the headphones, the Englishman was more focused on making the child feel comfortable and has been praised for his brilliant little gesture.

In doing this, he took a page out of West Ham teammate Danny Ings’ books. Earlier in the 2022/23 season when he was still playing for Aston Villa, Ings met an autistic mascot ahead of his side’s home game against Brentford. For those unknowing, autistic children can get extremely disturbed by loud noises and come under extreme distress in such situations.

To ensure that the child did not have any problems inside Villa Park, Ings made the nine-year-old child wear noise-cancelling headphones. The child, named Riley Reagan, was scared that people would mock him for wearing these headphones and as a result – Ings decided to wear them himself as well as the teams came onto the pitch.

The experienced striker also received a lot of praise at that time for his admirable efforts and seemingly inspired his teammate Bowen too, who showcased a lot of class and genuine care for the mascots with his gesture. This comes at a point where there is some division over how mascots are treated by Premier League players.

Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard was criticized recently for seemingly ignoring a young mascot when signing her jersey. However, the Gooners on Twitter assembled to quickly dismiss any sign of arrogance in the Norwegian – showing how well he treated the mascot before the game against West Ham in April.

These gestures from Bowen and Ings, however, sets a really important precedent and can encourage more children with a fear of loud noises or daunting atmospheres to volunteer in these mascot roles knowing that the footballers are there to look out for their safety.