Rugby player is a life-saver

A RUGBY player who swallowed his tongue during a game has said he will be eternally grateful to the man who saved his life.The dramatic incident came in the second half of a clash between Colchester Rugby Club's second team and Chingford.

A RUGBY player who swallowed his tongue during a game has said he will be eternally grateful to the man who saved his life.

The dramatic incident came in the second half of a clash between Colchester Rugby Club's second team and Chingford.

Martin Shuttleworth, a Chingford winger, was knocked down as he went in for a tackle and remained stricken on the ground. The team captain had swallowed his tongue and was struggling to breathe.

Players ran to his aid including the Colchester Ravens captain, Dan Howsonwho put his fingers into Mr Shuttleworth's mouth and brought back his tongue - allowing the 30-year-old gradually came round again.


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Luckily there was a former GP watching the match and he was able to help out.

Mr Shuttleworth said he was looking forward to playing Colchester again later in the season and thanking his rescuer.

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He said: "The timing of my tackle was not great, but to be honest I can't recall much of it - I just remember waking up at the side of the pitch being wrapped in a blanket and wondering what was going on - I thought it was Thursday.

"I did not see the guy who did it after the game, so I am looking forward to seeing him later in the season and buying him a beer. I am so grateful for his quick thinking and I want to thank him properly for what he did - it could have all been a lot worse but for his actions."

The investment banker from Chingford said it had not been a good day because to add insult to injury, England lost their Six Nations match against Ireland.

"My other half is Irish, so it really was a weekend to forget and I still feel very groggy," he added.

Mr Shuttleworth will have to spend the next three weeks sitting on the sidelines to ensure he is fully recovered from the concussion he suffered, but he said the incident had not dampened his enthusiasm for the game.

Last night, reluctant hero Mr Howson, a former army officer with the Royal Anglian Regiment in Colchester, said he did not see himself as a hero.

The 31-year-old full-back said: "I did not see what happened as such, I just heard the referee's whistle and noticed he was down and was not moving.

"I ran over and could tell he was not breathing properly and that something was stuck in his throat. I have done a fair bit of first aid in the past and thought he might have had a gum-shield stuck in there.

"I pushed him onto his side and stuck my fingers into his mouth to pull the shield out and then realised it was his tongue.

"We then put him into the recovery position and by that stage he had started to come round."

Mr Howson, a development surveyor, added there were a lot of ex-military men on the team who would have done the same, but he happened to get there first.

Andrew Sarek,the director of rugby at the club, said the actions were vital.

He said: "We were on his side of the pitch when he went down and saw his eyes roll into the back of his head - he was making a snoring noise.

"A load of players ran over and Dan pulled his tongue back out and he was put in the recovery position. He gradually came round over the next 30 seconds to a minute.

"It was just a normal tackle - he fell on his back and somehow swallowed his tongue. It was totally innocuous - it had been such an even tempered game."

After the life saving drama Colchester Ravens went on to win the game 31 - 5.

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