Felixstowe Harpers football player David Gibson suffers skull fracture after freak accident in game against Ipswich Valley Rangers at Gainsborough Sports Centre

David Gibson who suffered fractures to his nose, skull and both eye sockets

David Gibson who suffered fractures to his nose, skull and both eye sockets - Credit: Archant

A non-league footballer was left with a fractured skull and eye sockets after he landed face-first on a fence post at the side of the pitch.

David Gibson was playing for Felixstowe Harpers against Ipswich Valley Rangers in the Bob Coleman Cup quarter final game at Gainsborough Sports Centre when the freak accident took place on Saturday.

The incident, which happened after the 28-year-old stumbled after a non-malicious tackle, left the former Archant employee in hospital for two nights with fractures above and below both eye sockets, a fractured skull and a swollen face.

Former Ipswich Town player, Kevin Steggles, who is the father of David’s girlfriend, was at the game.

He said: “It’s the worst thing I have ever seen but at the end of the day it was an accident and it is obviously a difficult time.”


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David, who works at Safmarine in Felixstowe, was treated at Colchester General Hospital.

Despite the accident, Felixstowe Harpers manager Ian Watson confirmed that the fence surrounding the football pitch at Gainsborough did conform to FA guidelines. He added: “It was quite traumatic. He stumbled into it at quite a pace and it was quite a normal challenge. It’s the correct distance by the FA rules, but obviously you can have a freak accident,”

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Following a RIDDOR report for the incident, Ipswich Borough Council will be investigating the situation. A spokesman said: “We have completed a report and that will now be investigated. We are just very pleased that Mr Gibson appears to be making a good recovery and we send him and his family all the best.”

Mr Watson added: “The people that dealt with it at the scene were absolutely fantastic including the managers and physios and the reaction from other clubs and players has been really overwhelming – that’s the good thing about local football.”

A statement from Ipswich Valley Rangers said: “From all management, players, commitee and beyond at ipswich valley Rangers Football Club, we would like to send all our get well wishes to David Gibson of Felixstowe Harpers and his horrific injuries sustained in saturday’s game. Our thoughts are with you and your family at this terrible time. Wishing you a very speedy recovery.”

The game was abandoned in the 24th minute, with a replay set to take place on Saturday. March 28.

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