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PHOTOS: Cornish rugby player thanks ref for saving her life

jessica humber

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 4:50pm 6th December 2018.

A rugby player from Padstow has thanked a referee for saving her life - after she broke her neck.

Jessie Humber, from St Merryn, was seriously injured during a match two weeks ago.

The 26-year-old was playing a match with her team Plymouth Albion Ladies at the end of November.

She took the ball into contact and felt a sharp pain after a tackle.

jessica humber
Rugby player Jessie Humber broke her neck during a match a few weeks ago

As Jessie fell backwards the referee rushed over and caught her as she fell.

Doctors have said that his quick-thinking actions saved her life - as it could have been a different story if her head had hit the ground.

jessica humber
As she fell to the ground after a tackle - the referee rushed over to catch her and made sure her head didn't hit the ground

He stayed with her and kept her calm until the ambulance arrived.

Jessie suffered four fractures in one of her vertebrae.

But she says it actually could have been much worse - and could have even been fatal.

jessica humber
Now she has thanked him for saving her life - after she fractured a main vertebrae in four places

"I felt all the pins and needles and all the spasms in my arms and legs, I felt myself falling backwards and I knew just to keep calm, and then as soon as I hit the ground, I felt the pain.

"The pain was just completely unbearable, I was screaming, so much so that my team mates had their fingers in their ears.

"The doctors said if my head had hit the ground instead of being caught gently like it was, one of the fractures would have gone straight through the artery which takes blood to the back of my brain, and probably would have killed me on the pitch there and then.

"The scans came back and they said I'd broken my neck, my c1 vertebrae, which is probably the worst one because it's the one your head sits on top of."

Jessie Humber

jessica humber
Jessie now needs to wear a metal neck brace for 12 weeks - but sadly won't be able to play rugby again

Jessie was out of hospital a week later - and went straight to watch her brother in a rugby match.

At the game she met the referee who saved her life and thanked him again in person.

Jessie is now in a metal neck brace and 'halo' for 12 weeks - and it is hoped that will help the fractures heal.

But she will likely still need a fusion operation because of the severity of the break.

jessica humber
But she is encouraging other people to play the sport - and says she will always be involved in some way

"I won't ever be playing rugby again - and that does break my heart.

"It hasn't scared me, it isn't something I want other people to worry about either, it was just really unfortunate that day what happened, but I would go back to it in a heartbeat.

"if I had the opportunity to play again, if it took a few years to get better or if it was less of a severe break, I would 110% be back playing rugby."

Jessie Humber

Sadly she won't be playing rugby again - but hopes to still stay involved in some way in the future.

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