Footballer Scott Irvine hoping to play again after horror collision left him fighting for his life
An Irish League footballer has told how he is still coming to terms with the permanent loss of hearing in his right ear after a mid-match accident left him fighting for his life.
Larne FC player Scott Irvine suffered a fractured skull after colliding with a pitchside wall during a home match against Carrick Rangers in January.
The midfielder revealed his collision brought on a seizure and said he cannot remember what happened during the horrific incident, which was witnessed by his dad.
The father-of-two told the Belfast Telegraph he hoped that he would return to playing for Larne in the pre-season games in July - if his consultant gives him the go-ahead at his next appointment next month.
"No one has told me that I can't play with just hearing in one ear," said Scott.
"Initially my hope was to get a 100% recovery, but I've lost the hearing in one ear completely so that's a downer, but the next stage is to get myself back to a level of fitness.
"I'm getting there, but if that's all I have to cope with after the accident, then I will just have to get on with it just like everyone else.
"There's people who have serious accidents and are diagnosed with things every day, so it's just one of those things that you have to take on the chin and move on."
The footballer said he suffered a seizure after hitting the wall.
"For those standing around me at the time, they would have gladly taken the loss of hearing just as long as I was OK," he added.
The 30-year-old revealed his father Tommy was shocked to witness the collision as he was standing behind the wall when it happened, but had been heartened by his quick recovery.
A civil servant from Greenisland, Co Antrim, Scott says that he's thankful his injuries were not more serious as he only sustained some bruising to his upper body and arms.
However, the real concern for him immediately after the accident was the bruising to his brain.
Scott said: "After I left the hospital, the main thing for me to do was just to rest as the swelling went down.
"I lost over a stone so I've been trying to build myself up. I've put some weight back on and I'm trying get my fitness levels up again."
He's also thankful that his wife Janine was off on maternity leave during his recovery time with their now eight-month-old daughter Georgia and her older sister Brooke (3), as they all helped aid his recovery.
"Janine has been amazing, she kept everything at home going and having my kids around me made everything normal," he said.
"The family definitely lifts your spirits when you're feeling low."
He also paid tribute to Larne and other clubs from the Irish League and Amateur League who have supported him.
"I just can't believe the support I've got from clubs I've never played against and players I don't know.
"When something like that happens, everybody feels it in the sport," he added.
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Northern Ireland's football community has pulled together to support Larne FC midfielder Scott Irvine after his horrific accident in January. A number of high profile current and former Irish League players, plus former Linfield manager David Jeffrey, recently played in a charity game. A fund was set up after the accident and both Larne and Carrick football clubs donated the gate proceeds to the Irvine family.