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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Police probe rugby union eye injury

A POLICE investigation has been launched after an amateur rugby union player from the Wigton area was left blind in one eye following an incident during a game against Whitehaven.

Doctors have told farmer Alan Hedworth, 37, that he will probably never regain the sight in his left eye.

He suffered a horrifying injury, in which his left eyeball was split open, as he played at home for his team Aspatria Eagles against Whitehaven on Saturday, October 24.

Surgeons at The Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle battled for more than three hours to repair the damage but were unable to save the sight in his injured eye.

Cumbria Police are appealing for witnesses after they were formally asked to investigate the incident by the Rugby Football Union.

Speaking about his injury, Mr Hedworth said the pain he had suffered had been “horrendous”.

He said: “The doctors have as good as confirmed that there’s not a lot they can do. It’s certainly brought an end to my rugby. It’s also caused a lot of disruption in other aspects of my life.

“I’m a farmer and I’m 90 per cent responsible for running the family farm, which involves using a lot of machinery.”

The incident which led to his injury came five minutes before half time, at around 3.35pm, he said.

“The back of my eyeball split one third of the way round, and I lost some of the jelly like fluid at the time.

“As soon as it happened, I went straight to the ground.

“The physio came on and saw what had happened as soon as I sat up.

“He said I had to go straight to hospital.

“The surgeon worked on me for three-and-a-half hours, stitching the eyeball back together but she said later in the day that there was too much blood and swelling to try to attempt any repair.”

Mr Hedworth, a second row forward with Aspatria Eagles, said that at first pain did not seem too bad but in the nine days since it happened the injury had become far more painful.

He has accepted the offer of a second medical opinion on whether or not his damaged eye can be repaired.

He said that for him rugby had always been both a social outlet and an enjoyable way of staying fit.

A spokesman for Cumbria Police said: “At the request of the Rugby Football Union, Cumbria Constabulary is investigating an incident that occurred during a rugby match on Saturday 24th October between Aspatria Eagles and Whitehaven at Aspatria Rugby club during which a 37-year-old player incurred a serious facial injury.

“Police will be working with the Rugby Football Union. Anyone who watched the match is asked to contact PC Zoe Gray at Wigton Police Station on 0845 3300247.”

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