A FOOTBALLER who was hospitalised after a league match is lucky to be alive, says his father.
Holsworthy captain John O'Donoghue is recovering in hospital after he suffered a life-threatening injury during a game on Saturday.
The 27-year-old defender is in Royal Cornwall Hospital, Treliske, in Truro after he punctured his intestine in a collision with a team-mate.
The accident happened during Holsworthy's 11-0 defeat at Helston Athletic during the Carlsberg South West Peninsula League game.
Helston club members Richie Full, assistant manager and coach and Ashley Stidwell, centre-half, have been praised for their quick reactions which may have saved John's life.
Dave, John's dad, lives in Black Torrington and said the accident could have ended in tragedy.
Dave said: "It was such a shock to get the phone call. I dread to think what could have happened. The people who recognised something was more serious practically saved his life.
"He was vomiting in the dressing room. Staff at the hospital said it was lucky he got there in time. If he waited any longer he could have died.
"I want to thank all the staff at the hospital too. He had internal bleeding from a ruptured intestine. John had a three and a half hour operation on Sunday morning to drain the blood.
"It was such a freak accident, it could have happened to anyone. In football you expect a twisted ankle, a broken leg at the worst."
John is a PE teacher at Launceston College and lives in Shebbear with his wife Bethany.
Bethany said: "We have been overwhelmed from all the phone calls, texts and messages from everyone offering their love and support to us both.
"It's going to be a long road to recovery but hopefully he will be on the mend soon."
Barry Parrish, chairman of Holsworthy club 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'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. We can't say a big enough thank you really."
Sid Taylor, manager for Helston 1st XI said: "We hope John has a speedy recovery, our thoughts are with him."
While he continues his recovery, John is expected to remain in hospital over the weekend.
"He was vomiting in the dressing room. Staff at the hospital said it was lucky he got there in time. If he waited any longer he could have died."