Siddal head coach Gareth Greenwood has admitted he thought one of his players was dying after allegedly being struck by an opposing player.
Centre Scott Caley was rushed to hospital after he appeared to be struck by Newcastle Thunder centre Derrell Olpherts off-the-ball, resulting in his airway becoming blocked.
The game was delayed for a prolonged period of time, with Caley requiring an oxygen mask and assistance from an on-site doctor. He was subsequently stretchered off the pitch before his side went on to shock their semi-professional opponents, winning 30-4 to progress to the fourth round of the Challenge Cup.
And Greenwood, the former Halifax RLFC player, was fearing the worst.
“It was horrible, I thought he was dying,” he admitted.
“It was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen in terms of the state that he was in.
“I went over and had a look at him. He was in a bad way; he had an oxygen mask on and his eyes were shut for a good 15 or 20 minutes. It looked like he was having fits and struggling to breathe.
“I was trying to look at the doctor and I could tell it was really serious. His eyes were closed but you could just see his eyeball roll now and again. It was bad.
“Thankfully the doctor from Huddersfield Giants was there and was brilliant.”
Caley was released from hospital later that night and there isn’t expected to be any long-lasting damage.
However, Greenwood made a point of saying his condition could have been fatal had the incident not taken place in the Challenge Cup. Amateur games don’t have doctors or their equipment in attendance, instead relying on first aiders. Without the oxygen mask, the situation could have become far more serious.
“We only had the doctor and the oxygen mask there because it was a professional game, and had he not been there, and I don’t like to be dramatic, I can’t help but wonder if he would have died.
“I asked the doctor if that was an option, and he said potentially as his airway was blocked and he needed the oxygen match to help his body.”
The club, who won League Express’ Team of the Week for their Cup exploits, are now hoping to organise a fundraiser to purchase their own specialised equipment.