Darlington defender Paddy Almond is targeting a return to football after admitting he feared for his life following a bleed on the brain.
The 20-year-old was rushed to hospital after suffering a serious head injury during the National League North side’s 2-1 FA Trophy defeat at Southend on January 14, and later transferred to the Royal London Hospital, where he spent three weeks.
However, after seeing his specialist in London on Wednesday, the former Sunderland youngster has been told that the swelling has reduced and that he may now not need surgery.
Looking back on a frightening experience, Almond told BBC Look North: “They scanned me there, realised it was actually a bleed on the brain and I thought, not just football-wise, my health. I thought it could be life-threatening.
“My goal is to get back on a football pitch, but obviously in terms of what the doctors and consultants stay, it’s still up in the air.
“I’m still here and breathing, fortunately lucky enough to walk away from it able to get back to 100 per cent.”
Almond, who joined the Quakers from Northern Premier League Shildon on a dual registration basis in December, admitted he had no idea how dangerous his injury could be when he was led from the pitch by club physio Danny O’Connor.
He said: “At first, I thought it was just concussion. The symptoms are the same – headache, I had double-vision, I couldn’t really walk – and then when Danny carried me off the pitch, I just started being sick everywhere.”
The centre-half had only returned to action in November after sustaining a serious head injury last summer in a car accident in Manchester.
A fund set up to help Almond and his family raised more than £13,500 in a matter of days as the football family responded to his plight.