A TEENAGER is fighting for his life in hospital after sustaining serious neck injuries during a horrific rugby accident.
David Ross (18), pictured, was critically hurt on the field and suffered neck and spinal injuries.
He was playing for The Wallace High School, of Lisburn, Co Antrim, in a 3rdXV cup game at St Columb's College in Co Derry.
Last night, the pupil from Moira, Co Down, was in intensive care, having undergone surgery after being hurt on Wednesday.
His family are understood to be keeping a vigil at his bedside at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, where he is currently being treated.
Paramedics were called to St Columb's School on Wednesday afternoon at around 3.15pm, following a 2.30pm match kick-off.
An onlooker, who asked not to be named, said that the injury happened in ordinary play during the game.
"It was a totally innocuous incident," the witness said. "No one is totally sure if it was an awkward fall or not, but it didn't involve a scrum situation."
Ambulance service spokesman John McParland said they arrived within six minutes of being called.
It is understood that David, who works part-time in a local supermarket, was treated by officials on the pitch until paramedics arrived.
Barry Cox, his boss at SuperValu, said everyone in the local community was stunned by the news.
"Everyone at the store is thinking of him and we hope he pulls through. He's a very likeable lad," he said.
Mr Cox said David has been working at the shop, which is at the heart of the small community, for just under two years.
He added: "I saw a note this morning saying that he had been in an accident on the football field. I didn't realise his injuries were so severe."
Neither the principal of Wallace High in Lisburn nor Ulster Rugby wished to comment last night.