ASHINGTON have been rocked by the news that striker Phill Bell has been ruled out for the rest of the season.
The striker initially thought he had suffered a dead leg in the 1-1 draw with Jarrow Roofing 12 days ago – an injury which forced him to be substituted ten minutes before half-time.
But further investigation has resulted in an operation at the RVI in Newcastle.
Speaking from his hospital bed on Sunday evening, 28-year-old Bell, pictured, said: “The Jarrow lad came through the back of me but it was a foul and nothing else – it was not a malicious challenge.
“It was a knock on the thigh and after coming off it was a case of iceing and decompressing the leg, which I’ve had problems with in the past.
“The injury became worse later on and as I was staying with my good mate – South Shields player Jonny Wightman – I went to South Tyneside Hospital to get it checked out.
“They X-rayed the leg and found no breaks.
“However, they alerted me to the fact of having a condition called ‘compartment syndrome’, where the pressure increases and it’s a worrying situation because it is still bleeding.
“My leg seemed to settle down and they discharged me on Tuesday when I was told I would be on crutches for three weeks.
“But within two hours the injury had swelled further so I went to the RVI and within half an hour had a test done with a pressure sensor which revealed it was twice what is was meant to be.
“They had to operate in the next hour as the implications could have been very serious.
“Everything went fine with a big cut from the hip to above the knee and I woke up the next day feeling ok.
“However, the experts found I am haemophiliac, where the bleeding doesn’t stop, which explains a lot with problems from the past, and they gave me an injection to stop the bleeding called a clotting factor.”
He added: “Every day they have been tightening the wound to bring the skin closer together and on Monday I was due to be operated on again to have stitches inserted.
“Playing wise, I’ve already written this season off – which seems miles off – and am looking to the next campaign.
“Naturally I’m downhearted because for the past week I’ve been in quite a bit of pain and it is sore all the time.
“However, I can see light at the end of the tunnel and when I get mobile again that is when they will release me from hospital.
“This has come as a massive shock to me and because I’ve learned about being haemophiliac, I now know I can control things in the future by injecting this clotting factor – similar to a diabetic person having to inject insulin.”
Ashington manager Gary Middleton said: “It’s an horrendous injury to Phill and we all hope he will be on the mend soon.
“Obviously everyone at the club sends him their best wishes and regards.
“Injuries are part and parcel of football and with that in mind, the players we had lost this season have been big players but we have coped well.
“The win at South Shields on Saturday was a great result for us, but apart from Phill’s sickening circumstances we are also going to lose Michael Tait for several weeks with a hamstring strain.
“However, an injury creates an opportunity for someone else and we’ve just got to accept it and move on.”