Ex-footballer tells how he had lower leg amputated after medics discovered deadly illness following drink-drive crash in Sunderland
A former professional footballer has told how his decision to drink drive saved his life after a deadly illness was discovered by doctors following his resulting car crash.
Will Ferry had his lower left leg amputated within 24 hours of smashing into railings in Leechmere Road, Sunderland, after tests confirmed that swelling on his foot was sepsis.
Now a wheelchair user while he waits for a false leg to be fitted, he spent 18 weeks recovering in hospital and is urging people with similar symptoms to seek medical advice to avoid a similar fate.
Ferry, 53, of Toward Road, Hendon, Sunderland, said: “I should not have got in the car. I was a stupid thing to do and I only drove to get some milk for my cornflakes because I was struggling to walk.
"But the doctors told me if I had not been brought in when I was then I would not be alive today.
“My life changed almost overnight.
"The pain is horrendous and if there is any good from all this then I hope it prevents other people, like lads who get cuts on building sites, from going through what I have gone through.”
Ferry, who played for Scunthorpe United and Barnsley in the 1980s, said he began suffering pain after cutting his foot while out walking and believes infection must have set in.
He added: “I had not been well for a couple of weeks before and had blacked out at friend’s house. In hindsight, I should have gone to a doctor then.”
Magistrates heard he had also blacked out at the wheel just prior to the accident at 2.18pm on January 1.
Police discovered him receiving treatment inside an ambulance and a roadside breath test showed he was more than twice the legal limit after celebrating New Year’s Eve.
The former England schoolboy striker said his plans to rebuild his life now include writing a book about his career and accident.
Ferry, who left Barnsley after four appearances following injury, spent a decade playing abroad in Sweden and Belgium before returning home to become a postman.
The former Thornhill School pupil added: “I have had a lot of help from the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) and a lot of help from a good circle of friends.
"Mike Harford, the footballer from Sunderland, is a friend and he told me to get in touch with the PFA.
"It was Paul Allen, who people will remember from West Ham, who helped me a lot and the PFA got me a mobility scooter.
"But I am positive I will walk again – the prosthetic leg has been delayed because of the coronavirus – and there are people in a lot worse positions than me, particularly with all this Covid.”
Ferry, who was predominantly left-footed as a player, has also thanked Sunderland Royal Hospital staff for their care.
For more details about sepsis and its symptoms – which include rashes, tiredness, breathlessness and nausea – go to www.nhs.uk/conditions/sepsis/