Clarke Carlisle is “very poorly” but “alive and stable” his wife Gemma has announced.
The former Premier League defender and Professional Footballers’ Association chairman is in hospital after being involved in a collision with a lorry in North Yorkshire on Monday.
The 35-year-old, who retired from football last year, was airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary with “serious injuries” that were initially reported to be life-threatening.
Gemma Carlisle took to Twitter on Tuesday morning, thanking well-wishers for their thoughts and prayers and saying she was “overwhelmed”.
Later she posted the first update on his condition, saying: “Clarke’s very poorly but he’s alive and stable. Best Christmas gift we as a family could wish for. Thanks again.”
The football community was quick to pledge its support to Carlisle and wish him a speedy recovery.
Representatives from the PFA visited Carlisle in hospital, and in a short statement the organisation said: “Everyone at the PFA is keeping Clarke Carlisle in their prayers and thoughts.
“We visited Clarke at the hospital yesterday and we are offering our full help and support to him and his family at this difficult time.”
Carlisle succeeded Chris Powell as PFA chairman in 2010 and carried out the role for three years before stepping down in 2013.
The Football Association, Football League and anti-racism organisation Kick It Out, for which Carlisle is an ambassador, all tweeted their support, as did his former clubs Burnley, Blackpool, QPR, Leeds, Watford, Northampton, Preston and York.
Peter Crouch, who played with Carlisle at QPR, and Joey Barton were among the footballers sending their prayers and best wishes.
Crouch wrote: “Just heard about Clarke Carlisle. Was close to Clarke @QPRFC lovely fella. Praying for him and his family #FootballFamily”
Barton said: “Just heard the news about Clarke Carlisle. My thoughts are with his friends and family.”
Former Downing Street communications chief Alastair Campbell, a Burnley fan, also took to Twitter, saying: “Really hoping @clarkecarlisle going be ok. Thoughts with Gemma/two lovely kids. A great @BurnleyOfficial man and mental health campaigner.”
North Yorkshire Police would not confirm that Carlisle was involved in the accident but said a 35-year-old man was airlifted to hospital after a serious incident involving a lorry and a pedestrian on the A64, near York, on Monday morning.
The force launched a witness appeal following the incident, which occurred near the village of Bishopthorpe at 7.30am.
A statement said: “The collision involved a male pedestrian and a lorry.
“The injured man has been airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary with serious injuries.
“The road was closed to allow the air ambulance to land and to allow collision investigators to examine the scene.”
Carlisle regularly appears on television as a commentator and pundit and has also been a contestant on the long-running Channel 4 quiz show Countdown and a guest on the BBC’s Question Time.
He has also presented a TV documentary about racism in the game and another - Football’s Suicide Secret - about mental health issues among his fellow professionals.
Burnley tweeted about their intended show of support for Carlisle when they face Liverpool on Boxing Day.
“The club has been inundated with well wishes for Clarke Carlisle. Fans plan to show support with 1 minute applause in 5th min on Boxing Day.”