Footballer shares his experience of brain injury following collision

Hull City midfielder Ryan Mason has spoken to the Daily Mail about his head collision with Chelsea defender Gary Cahill during a game in January, which left him with a serious brain injury. 

The following excerpts are from the newspaper and Ryan has also spoken about his injury on the Hull Tigers You Tube channel.

The collision

Mason said: “'I actually remember everything up until surgery. I remember the cross, the header, being on the pitch, the ambulance arriving. “My thoughts were of pure fear,” he recalled. “A clash of heads is pretty common in football but the sheer impact of it was worrying... it really did feel like a bomb had exploded in my head. “The doc knew within seconds I'd fractured my skull and he also knew St Mary's was the best place to go… I was in surgery 61 minutes after the accident.”

The immediate aftermath and recovery

Mason’s skull was fractured and it shattered ‘into quite a few pieces’. He said: “The plates I've had inserted will be there permanently, along with the screws… The hair is growing back on that side now… but you wouldn't have recognised me 10 weeks ago. My head was huge because of the swelling and the bleeding I suffered on the brain. “I couldn't even open my mouth for the first eight weeks, never mind get a full spoon of food in there. My fiancée Rachel was feeding me grains of rice. She has been amazing. For the first eight weeks she had to live in the house without the telly on, no noise, just nursing me. It was tough. “Everything is gradually improving and the doctors are pleased with my recovery. It's all part of a process that is completely normal for what I've been through.”

Ongoing effects

“I'm still dealing with fatigue,” said Mason. “And if there's a lot of noise, a lot of conversations going on, I kind of hit a brick wall and need to leave and go sleep it off. “What you realise is that your body is using so much energy to repair the injury, you don't have the strength for anything else. I was in hospital for eight days and when I came home I probably slept for 18 to 20 hours a day for the first four or five weeks. “Breakfast would tire me out. Just getting up to sit at the table would be exhausting. I couldn't physically do anything. I remember being able to butter a piece of toast again. Rachel and I actually celebrated. It felt like a huge step. A loss of balance has also been an issue: “It was really badly affected,” said Mason. “For the first eight weeks it was like I was on a boat the whole time, feeling nauseous and unsteady.”

Looking to the future

Mason also talks about his return to football: “To begin with I just felt so blessed to still be alive… then I was wondering whether I could get back to any form of normality. Whether I would be able to even walk to the shops. “But when I did start watching TV again I put the football on, and it was then that I started thinking I wanted to play again… I couldn't imagine when it would be physically possible. How was I going to run around a football pitch when I was struggling to even walk up the stairs? “I'll just take it step by step. I'm not even running yet… Hull, who have been fantastic, have assigned one of the physios to me full time. “I like to think I've always appreciated what I've got. My family, my friends. But something like this makes you realise that they're actually what really matters. “I think it's made me a happier person. Football can be a very up and down business but I think when I return the downs will affect me less.” To read the full Daily Mail article click here.
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