Belfast Telegraph

GAA player Caitlin McCartan out of intensive care unit after neck injury on pitch sparks several fits

By Cate McCurry

A young Gaelic footballer who suffered a number of seizures during a match has been removed from an intensive care unit and is now on the mend.

Caitlin McCartan was rushed to hospital on Saturday evening after sustaining a neck injury when she tripped and fell during a game.

The footballer, who is in her early 20s, was described as being in a stable condition.

She remained in intensive care ntil yesterday afternoon before being moved to a ward after her condition improved.

Caitlin was playing for Bryansford in a Down senior club championship semi-final against Castlewellan at the St John's club near Castlewellan on Saturday.

Spectators said she tripped over another player and injured her neck when she landed.

While on the ground she suffered multiple seizures.

Officials produced a defibrillator, although thankfully it was not needed.

Following Caitlin's injury the match was abandoned with 12 minutes remaining.

A spokeswoman for the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust said: "Caitlin is in a stable condition and is being moved from the ICU to a ward."

A spokesman for Bryansford GAC said: "Everyone at Bryansford GAC would like to send best wishes to Caitlin McCartan after her serious injury.

"Her and her family remain in our thoughts and prayers at this time."

Down Ladies GAA posted on its Facebook page: "Down Ladies County Board wish Caitlin a speedy recovery.

"Special thanks to all those who helped out at the time of the injury. It was great to see true sportsmanship when both clubs rallied together."

A spokesman for Castlewellan said: "Our match with Bryansford was abandoned with 12 minutes to go due to a serious injury to Caitlin McCartan of Bryansford. We wish Caitlin a speedy recovery. Replay details to be confirmed."

Bryansford chairman Peter Brannigan, who had been watching the match, said that the injury to the young player had stunned team-mates, opponents, officials and spectators.

"She tripped over another girl who was on the ground and landed on her neck," he said.

"Everybody rallied around and did what they could do to help, especially the Castlewellan girls, a couple who are nurses.

"She was taken to the Royal, where she is improving. Her family was sent for in the middle of the night.

"She is not out of the woods yet, but the signs are encouraging. It has been quite a shock for everyone, and I wish her a speedy recovery."

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