A South Shields FC player has hailed medical staff after a horrific on-field collision left him severely concussed.
Carl Finnigan, 31, was left unconscious after taking an accidental knee to the head in the Mariners’ game against Hyde United on Saturday.
After eight minutes of treatment from Shields physio Andrew Morris and his Hyde counterpart, Stefanie Todd, the striker was stretchered off.
It was later revealed that he had swallowed his tongue in the incident, which happened in the seventh minute of a match watched by a crowd of 1,751 at Mariners Park.
An ambulance – which was called for at 3.10pm – arrived to take Mr Finnigan to hospital at 5.35pm, where he was checked over and scanned before being allowed to return home.
He was quick to thank those who helped him in his hour of need.
Mr Finnigan said: “I’m immensely grateful for the amazing reactions of the medical staff in making sure the situation didn’t become any more serious, particularly Andy Morris, who did a fantastic job.
“It was a very scary time, but thankfully I was in great hands.
“I have no memory of the incident but from what I’ve heard, it was pretty serious and I might have got lucky.
“I hugely appreciate all the kind messages and hope to be back on the pitch soon.”
I’m immensely grateful for the amazing reactions of the medical staff in making sure the situation didn’t become any more seriousCarl Finnigan
The first on the scene to treat the striker was Shields physio Andrew Morris.
He said: “Carl was unconscious for about one-and-a-half minutes, and had swallowed his tongue.
“We had to rectify that situation first, and then fortunately I received assistance from Hyde’s physio and others while I was holding his airway open.
“Hyde’s physio supported Carl’s neck, because we couldn’t rule out a neck injury at that stage, and we got him into the recovery position.
“Carl came round, started communicating and opened his eyes, and we were then able to stretcher him off.
“He was later in and out of consciousness in the treatment room.”
In line with the FA’s concussion guidelines, Finnigan is not expected to be able to resume training until 14 days have passed.
After that, he will be put on a five-day GRTP (gradual return to play programme), with his potential return game set to be an away match at Clitheroe on February 17.
Shields went on to win Saturday’s game 3-0 to stay top of the league.