Rugby player walked with a broken neck

Mark and Emma Seal with Livvy, 11, and Lillian, five
Mark and Emma Seal with Livvy, 11, and Lillian, five

A rugby player stunned medics by walking around with a broken neck after suffering an injury on the pitch.

Dad-of-two Mark Seal is now sat at home in a neck brace hoping he will make a full recovery from the injury which could have paralysed him.

His dramatic week started last Friday evening when the family returned from a holiday to Tenerife.

The following day Mark played in a friendly match for Greetland All-Rounders against King Cross and as he took the ball forward he collided with opposing players.

On the Sunday he underwent a five-hour operation at Leeds General Infirmary when a disc was removed and fractured bones fused together.

And, on the Monday night he was back at his Greetland home with strict instructions to protect his neck.

Hopefully, after three months his neck brace will be removed and no further operation will be necessary.

Wife, Emma and children Livvy, 11, and Lillian, five, are now caring for him at home and keeping their fingers crossed.

Mark, 35, said: “I’m just grateful I am in this situation as it could have been a lot worse.

“Everything is still a bit up ‘in the air’ and it’s going to be a long road back mentally as well as physically.”

He recalled after the incident he stood up to play the ball and hearing a “loud ringing” in his left ear for a few seconds.

He came off the pitch and watched the game continue while putting ice on his neck. He then managed to get changed and have a drink before being driven to the Calderdale Royal Hospital.

At A&E his friend Martin Berry was working and came over for a chat and recognised the seriousness of the situation and immediately sent him for X-ray.

Mark was then told he had broken his neck and he was strapped down and transferred to Leeds.

He had just started playing rugby again after several years, but as a builder he is very fit and medics said his muscles protected him from more serious injury.

“If I had just jarred my neck I could have severed my spinal chord and been paralysed,” said Mark.

“I will be going back in six weeks for more X-rays and scans.”

Emma, 30, said she was grateful for Martin’s help and he rang her to inform and reassure her.

“I got a phone call to say Mark had broken his neck and was being rushed to Leeds but it was frightening and worrying,” she said.

“We have since been overwhelmed by the support from well-wishers.”

The couple run their own business Seal Construction and Emma said their sub-contractors have pledged to work extra hours if necessary while Mark recovers.

Emma said if she can get a wheelchair, and Mark feels well enough, the family will visit the rugby club tomorrow afternoon for the “Greetland Rocks Music Festival.”