Air ambulance called after referee collapses on pitch

Referee David Thomas
Referee David Thomas

Lancashire’s footballing world has spoken of its shock after a referee collapsed during a match.

An air ambulance was dispatched to Eccleston Jubilee playing fields in Draper Avenue after David Thomas was taken illduring Sunday morning’s youth match between Eccleston and Heskin and Leyland BTR.

Mr Thomas, who is believed to be in his early 20s and from Leyland, is now recovering in hospital, awaiting tests to determine the cause of his illness.

Eamonn McNamara, chairman of the Lancashire Sunday Football League, said: “David’s a young referee and a mentor was there to watch him. About 10 minutes into the match the mentor was concerned David wasn’t keeping up with play and he sensed something wasn’t right.

“He asked the lads to kick the ball out of play, and it was at that point David collapsed.”

Eccleston’s manager Barry German dialled 999 and an air ambulance was dispatched. Crews attended to Mr Thomas in the club’s treatment room.

Mr McNamara said: “Everybody was very concerned, but luckily he’s not as bad as feared and is hospital undergoing tests. I’ve been told that he felt dizzy and the next thing he remembers is waking up in an ambulance.”

He added: “I met David for the first time last week and my son’s the referee’s manager. We both said what a nice, smart lad he was, and remember commenting he was a real prospect. He’s a very fit lad, so it’s a shock this has happened.

“Everyone connected with the clubs and the league have been very concerned.”

A spokesman for Eccleston and Heskin Football Club said: “Everyone at Eccleston and Heskin and Leyland BTR would like to thank the emergency services for their swift response and to pass on our best wishes to the referee.

“We have spoken with the referee’s mother who has informed us that he is okay but was to be kept in hospital overnight for further tests to establish the cause. We hope he has a swift recovery and we look forward to seeing him later in the season.”

Leyland BTR said: “Thank you to everyone for your actions and support to help in what must have been a stressful and upsetting situation for everyone.”