A rugby player is recovering after he suffered freak injuries during a game in Northampton that doctors said were worse than a 70mph car crash.
Kieran O’Connor was playing for Old Northamptonians RFC when he was accidentally kneed in the back by an opposition player as he dived on the ball.
Paramedics were called, but it was only when the 22-year-old had a scan in hospital doctors discovered his kidney had been broken into four pieces.
Mark Kefford, the first team coach, said: “I couldn’t believe that such an innocuous and accidental contact could lead to that.
“I’ve never seen or heard of an injury that bad on a rugby pitch.
“I went to the hospital with Kieran and the doctor said he’d seen people who’d been in 70mph car crashes with less damage than that.”
At one point doctors thought Kieran’s life was in danger after his scan showed a blood clot about the size of a rugby ball. He also lost a huge amount of blood.
But after having the shattered organ removed, Kieran’s body is recovering well and he will now rely on his remaining kidney.
Kieran was initially expected to spend a month in hospital, but his high levels of fitness mean he is out of intensive care and has since left hospital.
Mr Kefford said: “Kieran has been really touched by the messages of support from as far away as Brazil and Australia.
“Rugby clubs are one big family and there will be a lot of relief at his recovery.”
Mr O’Connor’s father has said the promising winger may have played his last rugby match. His dad, Sean O’Connor, said: “He has made a lot of progress thanks to NGH’s fantastic staff. “In terms of fitness, he’s getting better all the time and should be absolutely fine,” he added. “But he’s only got one kidney left now and he can’t risk damage to that one. “I expect it will be non-contact sports for the rest of his life now, but we’re just so relieved he’s here.”
A club spokesman added: “Kieran has done really getting early release from hospital after his op to remove his kidney damaged in the freak accident in Saturday’s league game.
“Kieran’s family thanks everybody for their support, especially Club Head Coach Keff who stayed with Kieran all evening, and Dr Cox for his speedy medical attention on the pitch together with the paramedic and of course all the staff in ICU and on the wards at the General Hospital.
“They and Kieran are really touched by all these messages of support, specially those from all our fellow Rugby Clubs and their members.”