Health chiefs have issued an apology after a footballer who was knocked out in a on-pitch collision was forced to endure a 90-minute wait for an ambulance.
South Shields Football Club midfielder Adam Sakr was left unconscious for 20 seconds after an accidental clash with Ryhope Colliery Welfare goalkeeper Christopher Rookes, just a matter of minutes into Saturday’s Northern League Division Two fixture between the sides at Mariners Park.
An ambulance was called and advice was given not to move the player until paramedics arrived.
The game, which was witnessed by 314 fans, was initially halted as Adam lay prone on the field waiting for an ambulance, before a decision was made to call the fixture off as the wait for assistance continued.
The 21-year-old injured his shoulder and lost a tooth in the incident – but his relieved club boss, Jon King admits it could have been “a lot worse” and says Adam could be vying for a return to first-team action in just a couple of weeks.
He was discharged from South Tyneside Hospital on Saturday night and thanked fans for the flood of messages of support.
The North East Ambulance Service apologised for the delay on what they say was a “very busy” day of 999 calls.
An ambulance spokesman said: “We’re sorry that the injured player had to wait for an ambulance to become available, on what was a very busy day in terms of 999 calls.
“It’s always difficult prioritising ambulances, but cases where life may be in danger must take precedent.
“We’re delighted to hear the patient was discharged from hospital soon afterwards, and hopefully he will be back playing soon.”
South Shields boss Jon King said: “We totally understand that if someone is having a heart attack that must take priority.
“We know it is down to Government cuts that the ambulance service weren’t able to get here quicker. It’s not the ambulance service’s fault.
“Adam got great treatment and the physios from both teams did an excellent job.”