Rugby player who shattered his kidney in FOUR places and had injuries 'worse than a 70mph' car crash makes miracle recovery
Kieran O'Connor, 22, was accidentally kneed in the back by a rival playerLost six pints of blood during emergency surgery to remove the organCan now never play rugby again as only has one kidney remaining
18:17 GMT, 12 March 2013
02:24 GMT, 13 March 2013
An innocuous rugby tackle led to Kieran O'Connor suffering kidney injuries worse than a '70mph car crash victim'
A rugby player has made a miraculous recovery after shattering his kidney in four places following an innocuous tackle.
Kieran O'Connor, 22, had his kidney 'disintegrated' when a rival player accidentally kneed him in the back
as they both went for the ball in the last minute of a match earlier this month.
He was left with injuries that doctors described as 'worse than a 70mph car crash victim.'
Paramedics rushed to the playing ground of Old Northamptonians RFC after he was left paralysed on the ground as the side of his body swelled up.
Kieran was taken to Northampton General Hospital where doctors feared for his life when he developed a huge blood clot.
As they performed emergency surgery to remove the broken organ, he lost six pints of blood.
And despite being told he would be in hospital for over a month – the burly full-back was back home in just six days.
Today he described how he dived towards the ball in the dying seconds of the game while playing for Old Northamptonians against Loughborough RFC, which they went on to win 54-19.
Kieran, a commercial finance analyst, from Northampton, said: 'It was the last play of the game, the ball was kicked over the top and as full back I had to go and smother it.
'I knew I wasn't going to get to the ball so I dived towards it and the opposition player came in from the side with his knees as every player does in that situation.
'It's a tackle I've made millions of times before, completely innocuous. I just realised I couldn't move and knew something was bad.
'When the paramedics arrived they gave me gas and air and pain killers but I just couldn't move.
'One of our coaches is ex-Navy and has seen these kinds of things before and he could see there was internal bleeding as my side was all puffy.
'When they got me to hospital and I had a CT scan it showed my kidney was in four pieces.
'I lost six pints of blood before and during surgery but they managed to patch me up. I'm never allowed to play rugby again on doctors orders as I only have one kidney left.
Kieran (here on the left) suffered his horrific injuries when a rival player accidentally kneed him in the back as they both went for the ball in the last minute of a match
Emergency: Kieran lost six pints of blood before and during surgery. He has since been told it is too risky to keep playing rugby, as he now only has one kidney
'I've been lucky with injuries playing rugby for all my life with barely any injuries. Then one really innocuous challenge and my kidney disintegrates.'
Mark Kefford, the first team coach at Old Northamptonians RFC, said: 'I've never seen or heard of an injury that bad on a rugby pitch.
'I went to the hospital with Kieran and the doctor said he'd seen people who'd been in 70mph car crashes with less damage than that.'
His concerned father, Sean O'Connor, 52, described his son's escape as a 'miracle'. He added: 'He has made a lot of progress thanks to fantastic hospital staff.
'In terms of fitness, he's getting better all the time and should be absolutely fine.
'But he's only got one kidney left now and he can't risk damage to that one. I expect it will be non-contact sports for the rest of his life now – but it's a miracle he's still here.'