For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Footballer breaks neck copying star's goal celebration during game in Hartlepool
AN amateur footballer broke his neck and nearly ended up paralysed when he copied German legend's Jurgen Klinsmann famous slide when celebrating a goal.
Dennis Swales, 27, a striker for his local catholic club in Hartlepool, scored a last-minute winner for his team.
But as he celebrated by sliding on his knees across the pitch, he caught his chin on the grass and crushed his neck.
His team-mates, including his brother, Mark, then piled on top of him, leaving him in agony.
He was rushed to hospital where X-rays revealed he had badly damaged four discs in his neck and two vertebrae were cracked.
He underwent emergency surgery and medics feared he may never walk again, but he has defied the doctors and six weeks later he is back on his feet.
The 27-year-old said: “We were playing Gaiety’s Bar at Grayfields and I’d just scored in the last minute to make it 3-2.
“It was pouring with rain and the pitch was muddy, so I just thought it would be a laugh to do the Jurgen Klinsmann celebration by diving through this massive puddle.
“I’ve done that celebration a few times before, but I’d never imagined I’d end up breaking my neck doing it.
“Basically as I slid, I caught my chin on the grass and my body weight crushed against my neck.
“It was terrifying laying there. I was horrified of the thought of not being able to hold my kids, play with them and take them to the park.”
He was taken to One Life Hartlepool after the accident on Sunday, January 6, where medics placed him on a spine board and took him to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.
There, surgeons performed a risky six-hour operation, cutting through his throat to gain access to the damaged bones, muscles, nerves and ligaments, and to replace his broken discs with plastic ones.
His injuries mean he will not be able to play football again. The father-of-three said he is devasated his playing days are over as he was having the season of his life, but is relieved that he was not left paralysed as a result of the freak accident.
More Hartlepool News
- Community holds 'key' to murder of Andrew Simon in Hartlepool house fire
- Conservationists devastated by theft of eggs from rare tern nests at Crimdon
- A stitch in time
- Appeal to catch four teenage boys after indecent assault on girl, 12
- Day Six: Dave McLuckie Trial
- Life ban for Hartlepool woman whose starving dog died and was dumped in a wheelie bin
- Man arrested on suspicion of murder
- Charity bid continues after Kilimanjaro feat
- RNLI crews retrieve young man's body from base of Saltburn cliffs
- UK's most premature twins celebrate first birthday
Comments are closed on this article.