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How Helston football team saved the life of visiting player

By West Briton  |  Posted: February 28, 2013

By Beverley Coumbe

  • (L) Richie Full, medic and Helston Athletic assistant manager and Ashley Stidwell, player and trainee paramedic.

  • Holsworthy's captain John O'Donaghue at the moment he sustained a serious injury as he collided with his own goalkeeper Christopher Pearce. Picture by Keith Richards. TRKR20130223D-007_C

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A HELSTON football manager has praised the reactions of his team who helped save the life of a visiting player.

Holsworthy's captain John O'Donoghue punctured an intestine in a collision with his own goalkeeper near the end of Holsworthy's 11-0 defeat at Helston Athletic on Saturday.

Two medical staff and Helston Club members – assistant manager and medic with RNAS Culdrose 771 Naval Air Squadron Richie Full, and player and trainee paramedic Ashley Stidwell – ran to his aid.

Initially believing he had simply been badly winded, they quickly realised his injuries were extremely serious when they failed to find a pulse in his wrist and he was violently sick. An ambulance was called.

Mr Stidwell told the West Briton: "John was in a lot of pain and distressed. I was asking him what was wrong and noticed he had severe pain in his abdomen which was worrying.

"We kept him warm and reassured him. He was sick again, but the ambulance arrived quickly."

Mr O'Donoghue was taken to Royal Cornwall Hospital and underwent a four-hour operation to repair a 2cm hole in his intestine.

Helston's manager Sid Taylor said: "We realised he was having difficulties after clashing with his team-mate. The quick thinking of Ashley and Richard saved his life."

Barry Parrish, the Holsworthy chairman, said: "In all the years I have been in football I have seen some bad injuries but I have never heard of anybody puncturing their intestines.

"He is lucky to be here. He's an absolute stalwart for the club. He's a super lad. Football gets put into insignificance when it's a human life. We have rung Helston to thank them for everything they have done for John."

Mr Full said it was all in a day's work and they were used to dealing with emergencies, but pleased to have been able to help out.

Mr O'Donoghue's wife, Bethany, said: "He underwent several scans that showed a lot of fluid in his stomach. They did emergency surgery and discovered a 2cm hole in his intestine and he underwent four hours surgery."

She said he would be out of the game for the rest of the season: "He's fit, healthy and always doing sports but I've told him that it's perhaps time for him to take up golf."

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