Player put in coma after being hit by ball ‘recovering well’

Sam Owen
Sam Owen
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A sportsman who underwent emergency surgery after being hit on the head by a hockey ball during a match is recovering well, according to medics.

Sam Owen, 27, was hospitalised on Saturday after complaining of feeling dizzy after the incident during a game between his team, Blackpool Hockey Club, and Bolton Seconds that afternoon.

The player, from Staining, was put in an induced coma before the lengthy operation and then doctors monitored his progress for 48 hours.

But the second XI captain is now awake and on the road to recovery.

A spokesman for Royal Preston Hospital, where Sam is being treated, said: “We can confirm that he is awake and he is recovering well.”

His team-mates said the head injury, and subsequent surgery, was a frightening experience, particularly after the death of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes on November 27, after he was hit to the head by a ball.

Hughes, 25, was hit on back-left side of the head by a bouncer and succumbed to the serious head injuries two days later, in what has been called a ‘freak accident’.

Team-mate Steven Croft, from Blackpool Cricket Club where ,, Owen also plays, said: “We’re all in shock about what’s happened, especially in light of Phillip Hughes.

“The whole sporting community has shown their appreciation for Phil Hughes this week and realised to not take things for granted and that there can be dangers.

“You know the dangers of a hard ball. But you don’t go into a game thinking about that. That could be highlighted in coming months though.

“We’re just thankful Sam seems to be on the mend now.”

Mr Owen, who has won awards for cricket coaching, as well as risen through the ranks as a cricket and hockey player, left the pitch after being struck by the ball.

But he remained well enough to give his team-mates the half-time talk, before complaining of feeling dizzy and unwell and it was decided to take him to hospital.

Mr Croft added: “Thank God for the people who saw to him on Saturday. And everyone has mentioned that he’s at the specialist unit at Royal Preston. Everyone was fearing the worst at one stage, it’s shocking when you hear of someone having surgery and being in an induced coma. He was in the best hands though.”