A FOOTBALLER had to wait for more than hour for an ambulance to arrive after breaking his leg in freezing conditions on Sunday morning.

Paul Dobbing (CORR) broke his tibia just ten minutes after the game kicked off at 10.30am but it was almost noon before he was picked up by an ambulance from the Grayfields Sports Pavillion in Hartlepool.

The 26-year-old was getting treatment from a paramedic after 15 minutes but the Seaton Carew FC midfielder had to wait another hour before he could be taken to hospital by ambulance.

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While the Hartlepool Sunday League Premier Division player was awaiting transport to hospital all he had to keep him warm was supporters’ coats and jackets.

The North East Ambulance Service confirmed the delay but explained that the first ambulance that had been diverted away when an emergency life-threatening call was received.

Speaking from his bed in Stockton’s University Hospital of North Tees, the plumber said: “I have never felt pain like it before. When I eventually got to hospital my right foot was so blue they thought the damage could be even more serious but it was just because it was so cold.

“I’m just pleased it wasn’t more serious as the delay in the ambulance arriving could have made it worse. I know it wasn’t a life threatening injury but to wait for more than an hour is not acceptable.”

The game against Rovers Quoit was abandoned while the injured player waited to be taken to hospital.

A spokeswoman for the North East Ambulance Service confirmed there had been a delay but that was caused by a life threatening emergency call being received by the crew.

She said: “We received the call at 10.40am and the rapid response unit was on site by 10.46am and the paramedic, who was treating the injured man, called for an ambulance. A crew was assigned the job of going to the site but was called away on a life threatening call.

“The next available ambulance crew received the call at 11.30am and arrived on site 11.48am. Although the man’s broken leg is serious and he was laid on the cold ground, it was not a life threatening injury and they do have to take priority.

“The paramedic was treating him all the time while they awaited the arrival of the ambulance.”