Duffy to be back 'when he's ready'

Damian Spellman

Relieved father Brian Duffy insists his son Shane will not return to football until he is ready after almost dying in a freak accident.

Mr Duffy and his wife Siobhan were at the 18-year-old Everton defender's side at Dublin's Mater Hospital yesterday afternoon as he thanked the medical staff who saved his life.

The teenager lost two-thirds of his blood after rupturing his hepatic artery during a Republic of Ireland training game last Friday evening with Brian watching on the sidelines.


But the Duffys have now headed back to their Derry home after the teenager was discharged, and he could be back playing within four or five months, although perhaps not in front of his dad.

Mr Duffy said: "I said to him during the week, 'I don't know how I am going to watch you play again'.

"Hopefully now as a family, we can get the healing process ready for him, and then the Irish boys and Everton will come in and get him back to full fitness.

"But he will not play until he is ready."

The family's mood yesterday could hardly have been in more stark contrast to their emotions a week ago when they feared their son would not make it through the night.

Mr Duffy said: "The same tackle has been made on Shane a thousand times and I have never known an occurrence like this.

"Nine times out of 10 Shane would have been lifted off the pitch and examined. That would have been too late, Shane would have been dead.

"(Ireland surgeon) John O'Byrne and (team doctor) Alan Byrne had the sense to get him on that stretcher and get him down that road as fast as possible.

"We nearly lost him in the ambulance. We got him here and the crash team were sitting ready for us. We hadn't him in the door and they were looking at him.

"John O'Byrne told me that it was 35, 40 minutes in the ambulance and Shane could die in it.


"I had another 35, 40 minutes to live with that -- and Siobhan wasn't even here at the time.

"Was I going to tell her? Was I not going to tell her? Did I want her to land at the hospital and see him lying dead, because that's the way it was going?

"I told Siobhan on the way up. It's a three-hour journey and I don't know how she got through that. It's different being here than not being here."

A week on, Duffy was able to talk to reporters outside the hospital as he prepared to leave for home.

Mr Duffy said: "That weekend, I will never forget as long as I live. To have him standing here now is just unbelievable."