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Monday, 21 April 2014

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Amazing escape for rugby boy just inches from death

A 12-year-old Workington boy was just inches away from paralysis or death when he broke his neck playing rugby.

David Curran, of Windsor Road, Westfield, was injured during a tournament at Derwent Park on Sunday.

He was airlifted to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary for immediate treatment.

Mum Tracy Cunningham said she was told that if he had been taken to hospital by car it would have probably caused brain damage or worse.

He will have to wear a neck brace for up to four months and cannot play rugby again until he is 16.

A consultant told his family that David had come very close to being paralysed or dying from his injury.

The St Joseph’s School pupil and Salterbeck Storm player was playing against a team from Maryport when he ran into a tackle and hit his chin on the ground.

He left the pitch and collapsed into dad Stephen’s arms.

Soon afterwards he came round and Stephen thought he was okay until he collapsed again.

Stephen planned to drive his son to the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven but match spectator Pat Mifsud, a former nurse, advised him to lay David still and called an ambulance.

He was flown to hospital by the Pride of Cumbria Air Ambulance and doctors found he had a bleed on his neck as well as a break.

Tracy said: “I keep on reminding him that he can still walk and he can still talk. He is extremely lucky.

“Half an inch further and the consultant said he wouldn’t have been able to tell the tale. It was very close to the spinal cord.”

David was discharged from hospital on Wednesday and is recovering at home, surrounded by cards from well wishers.

He will be off school for the rest of this month and have an x-ray on May 1, when doctors will decide if he is ready to return.

The neck brace will have to stay for between six weeks and four months and David will then have physiotherapy to help strengthen his damaged muscles.

He will miss a school trip to France and it will be a while before he can get back to any of the sports he loves, which range from swimming, running and cycling to rugby, football and boxing.

Tracy said: “He is devastated. He’ll still follow rugby. He loves it.

“We came home and we forgot the rugby ball was right there that he plays with.

“He saw it and just had tears in his eyes.

“In 12 months time when we look back we’ll think ‘yes, he’s been very lucky’.”

Tracy and Stephen said they were grateful to everyone who had helped David and sent messages of support since the accident, including Vince McNicholas, of Salterbeck Storm, and the school.

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