Injured Irvine still has hopes set on making Larne return
Three months after he collided with a perimeter wall during Larne's Irish Cup tie with Carrick Rangers, midfielder Scott Irvine is still recovering from the horrific accident.
The Inver Park match was abandoned after 28 minutes, after Irvine was knocked unconscious. Initially, it was believed the 30-year-old's life was in danger but thankfully, the former Ballyclare Comrades man lived to tell the tale. That's not to say his injuries weren't serious. He suffered a fractured skull, a broken check-bone, bruising on the brain and the loss of hearing in one ear.
Irvine explained: “Since it happened I haven’t been able to hear out of my right ear and I have now been told that is permanent.
“When I got home almost two weeks later, there was also a lot of pain in my neck and shoulder but that was because of the impact of hitting the wall. I was in the hospital for 10 or 11 days and actually got out on my wife, Janine’s birthday. It was actually her 30th and I had booked a trip to Rome as a surprise and after hitting the wall, it was obviously cancelled.
“The doctors told me quickly it was never going to happen and I then had to speak to Janine to tell her I had booked it as a surprise for her, but then I had to say it wasn't happening. Obviously all she cared about was that I was okay.
“She has been amazing throughout the recovery, though. We have two young daughters, Brooke and Georgia, who was only four months old when all this happened. It must have been so hard on Janine having to look after the girls, as well as me.”
Although the incident made headlines at both home and abroad, Irvine himself has no memory of the accident.
"I don’t remember the challenge with Conor McCloskey and I don’t remember the impact, or the ambulance or anything. I didn't really know what had happened. The first night I was in the hospital, I was told what had happened but by the following day, I had completely forgotten it again.
“It was probably the following Sunday before it started to hit home just how serious it was.
“From what I remember and what other have said, I didn't look that bad even the night it happened. There was bleeding from my ear and mouth and I had two black eyes, but that was really it although there was a lot more internally.”
Despite his horrific injuries, Irvine is hoping to one day return to football, but his family remains his priority.
The father-of-two said: “I'm still off work. My plan is to get back as soon as possible and phase myself back in. If the doctors say I can’t play football again then that will be it. I have my wife and kids to think about.
“But I'm not ready to stop. I would rather be the one to decide when my career is over, instead of someone telling me.”
Scott has enjoyed no shortage of support from the Irish League community since the terrible accident on January 10. All profits from the rearranged Irish Cup tie between Larne and Carrick Rangers were donated to Scott, while fans of many clubs chipped in via a PayPal account set up by Larne boss David McAlinden.
On Sunday, some of Irvine's friends and team mates joined up with a number of Irish League legends to host a fund-raising friendly match at Albert Foundry's Paisley Park.
Even if Scott has to retire from football, the popular figure can rest assured that he will still have many friends at Larne and beyond.
Belfast Telegraph Digital