Hockey player in coma after freak injury

The Gazette's AllStars Sports Awards were held in The Theatre at Blackpool Sixth. Sam Owen - Highly Commended, Coach of the Year (11-18).

The Gazette's AllStars Sports Awards were held in The Theatre at Blackpool Sixth. Sam Owen - Highly Commended, Coach of the Year (11-18).

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A hockey player needed emergency surgery after he was hit on the head by the ball during a match.

Sam Owen, 27, was playing in a match at Stanley Park on Saturday when he was hit on the head by the ball.

He came off the pitch and continued to watch the game from the sidelines, even delivering the half-time team talk.

But then he complained of feeling dizzy and unwell and was taken to hospital.

He was put in an induced coma and then underwent surgery.

It is understood he is now awake and talking.

Sam is captain of the Blackpool Hockey Club men’s second XI, who played Bolton Seconds at Stanley Park on Saturday.

He is also well known as the second XI captain of Blackpool Cricket Club, and co-ordinator of the junior section.

Dave Cresswell, chairman of Blackpool Cricket Club, said: “Sam seems to have pulled through.

“He is still in hospital after an induced coma and a lengthy operation on Saturday night, though I understand they are pleased with the outcome, though they want to make sure over the next 24 hours.

“He has been talking to his girlfriend and dad. He’s a bit groggy and sounds a bit confused. The family are keeping us informed. “Everyone was distraught initially but they are all feeling a lot better now.

“But we have to keep our fingers crossed over the next 24-48 hours.”

Friends and sports clubs turned to social media to wish Sam a speedy recovery.

Leyland Cricket Club tweeted: “Just heard the awful news, our thoughts are with Sam Owen and Blackpool CC.

“Keep fighting Sam, from all your friends at Leyland CC.”

Northerncricket, the Twitter page for the Northern Premier Cricket League, posted a tweet which said: “Our prayers and thoughts are with Sam Owen and his family.

“C’mon Sam you can do this!”

And Chorley Cricket Club added: “Wishing @BlackpoolCC 2nd team skipper @neverseenaSam all the best.

“Thoughts and prayers from all at Chorley CC. Pull on through Sam!”

Sam, of Staining, was this year highly commended in the Coach of the Year (11-18) category of the Gazette’s Allstars sports awards this year.