Motherwell footballer has spleen removed after bad tackle

Ryan McMillan.
Ryan McMillan.

A Motherwell footballer caught in a ‘bad tackle’ during an amateur match at the weekend ended up needing his spleen removed.

Ryan McMillan was thrown into the air during the freak incident as he turned out for Motherwell Thistle against Ferguslie Star in Johnstone on Saturday afternoon.

The 23-year-old suffered a blow to the stomach as he crashed back to the pitch.

Ryan, who plays in the right back position, tried to see out the last 15 minutes of the game, but was substituted when he couldn’t breathe properly.

His dad Raymond, team manager at Motherwell Thistle, told the Times that he took Ryan straight to Wishaw General’s A&E department.

He said: “We sat in A&E for a while and he was given painkillers. They took X-rays as well, but there was nothing showing in them.

“They decided to keep him in overnight and carry out a CT scan on Sunday morning, which showed damage to his spleen.

“The surgeon told us he thought he might have been able to save it, but he couldn’t in the end.”

According to the NHS website, most splenectomies can be carried out via keyhole surgery, but the damage to Ryan’s spleen - an important part of the body’s immune system - was so severe that he required open surgery.

Raymond explained: “It was a big operation, Ryan was in theatre for about four hours.

“Bizarrely though, the physio has had him up and walking in the ward today (Monday) which is encouraging.

“The surgeon has told us he’ll try and have him home for Christmas, but said we’ve not to get our hopes up.

“There’s quite a long recovery period after the operation, about six weeks to heal, and Ryan will have to take antibiotics for two years now.

“He’ll also need a daily injection to help his immune system.”

He added: “It’s been a bad tackle, a freak accident really. We just hope he recovers well and can be home for Christmas.”

Ferguslie Star Tweeted its best wishes on hearing about Ryan’s operation, saying, ‘Sorry to hear that. Boy that made the tackle isn’t a dirty player at all, just unfortunate. The only bad tackle in an otherwise clean match. Hope all goes well.’