A NON-LEAGUE footballer from Northumberland was rushed to hospital on the day he was due to become a father after a tackle which broke his leg.
Stephen Young, a 30-year-old prolific striker at Ashington Football Club, broke his leg and dislocated his ankle in a game on Saturday, the day his girlfriend was due to give birth to their second child.
Stephen, who lives at Bedlington Station, is to undergo surgery on his injuries which may yet prove to be career-ending.
His injury marked the third home game in a row in which ambulances had been called to Ashington matches, to deal with serious accidents.
The injury happened in the club’s Northern League Division One match against Jarrow Roofing at Woodhorn Lane, which Ashington won 5-1.
Young, a former Morpeth player who has been with Ashington – known as The Colliers – two seasons, was through on goal when he was tackled from behind by a Jarrow player.
The player involved was given a yellow card and a penalty was given.
Ashington chairman and Labour MP for Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery said last night: “I was in line with the incident and I thought it was a bad tackle, the lad should have had a red card. It was certainly a horrible incident. Stephen was in a lot of pain.
“It happens in football and I am not looking to blame any of the lads from Jarrow Roofing or the lad involved. I accept it was not malicious. We knew it was a bad injury immediately.”
Colliers officials phoned 999 from the clubhouse, while spectators gave assistance – one holding Stephen’s leg in place – and an ambulance was sent, followed by a second.
Stephen was given oxygen and taken to the town’s Wansbeck General Hospital. The game resumed after a 10-15 minute hold-up. Stephen, a civil servant, was due to have an operation yesterday but the swelling had not gone down sufficiently.
His ankle was, however, put back in its socket and he remained in hospital last night.
Stephen’s partner Jill Coultas, with whom he has a 15-month-old daughter Maisie Young, was due to give birth to their second child on Saturday.
Jill, a 30-year-old healthcare assistant with whom he lives at Wood Lane, had to contact Stephen’s parents, who live in Bedlington but are away on holiday, to tell them the news.
She had not given birth yesterday afternoon and was unavailable for comment.
Her mother Anne Coultas, and brother Michael, spoke from her home at Woodhorn Drive in Stakeford, having visited Stephen in hospital.
Anne said: “The leg is too swollen to operate on today.
“They will operate tomorrow if everything is OK. If not it will be the end of the week. He is in hospital until they say otherwise.
“He is a bit low this morning, he was expecting his operation today.”
Asked whether the injury might be career threatening, she added: “They do not know yet. They have to wait and see what happens when they do the operation.”
Mr Lavery added: “We will all have our fingers crossed that he plays again because he will be a miss to Ashington Football Club and the Northern League because he is one of the top players in the Northern League, of that there is no doubt.”
Anne continued: “Obviously Jill is due her baby any time.
“She is bearing up OK at the moment. We are just trying to keep her calm.”
Stephen’s injury follows a fractured skull and blood colt on the brain suffered by club captain Darren Lough, following a clash of heads in Ashington’s previous home game, an FA Cup clash against Vauxhall Motors.
In the home game before that, against Shildon, Gareth Bainbridge dislocated his shoulder after falling awkwardly.