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Vale star back after horror head clash

By Craig Christie

Liam Forbes, Deveronvale v Fort William, Deveronvale FC, Highland League
Liam Forbes, Deveronvale v Fort William, Deveronvale FC, Highland League

A FOOTBALLER has made a triumphant return to the pitch after fracturing his skull and having three titanium plates fitted into his head.

Deveronvale defender Liam Forbes (26) had 55 staples inserted across his scalp from ear to ear after major surgery to repair a serious head injury caused by an accidental clash of heads during a Highland League match in Inverness.

Such was the impact, the Whitehills man was left with a hole in his forehead the size of a two-pound coin and a crack along the side of his skull.

Advised by some doctors to give up the sport he loves, Mr Forbes' subsequent recovery saw him given the go-ahead to carry on playing and he celebrated a memorable comeback on Saturday after almost a year on the sidelines.

Coming on as substitute for the final 20 minutes of Vale's match against Fort William at Banff's Princess Royal Park, he scored his team's final goal in a 6-0 victory.

"It's been a long road to recovery but everything is fine now," he said.

Describing the moment when he cracked his skull during a match against Clachnacuddin on April 15 last year, he said: "We just clashed together and at first I just thought it was a black eye. I really didn't think it was that bad and I wanted to play on but my head started to swell up and I had to come off.

"My head started feeling bad on the bus coming home so I got off at Elgin and went to Dr Gray's hospital where they gave me an X-ray and confirmed that I had fractured my skull. That was a bit of a shocker.

Liam Forbes, Deveronvale v Fort William, Deveronvale FC, Highland League
Liam Forbes, Deveronvale v Fort William, Deveronvale FC, Highland League

"I had gone into the back of his [the other player] head and my forehead crushed into my sinus, I hit the boy that hard. One doctor said that basically I had shook my brain, and that's why I had severe concussion.

"When they did the surgery, they basically cut me ear to ear and pulled down the top of my head and they had to put two metal plates in to cover the hole. But because I had hit my head so hard, where the hole was it had cracked half the way back down the side of my head. So there's a plate holding the crack as well."

Mr Forbes was signed off work at the Refresco soft drinks factory in Macduff for five months, and two local doctors he saw made a recommendation that he shouldn't try to play football ever again.

"I think they were looking at it more with a parental kind of view. They said 'if you were my son I wouldn't want you to play again'. But the surgeon who did the operation said he felt it would be totally safe and my head would be stronger than ever – so I took his word for it."

The titanium plates will remain in his head for the rest of his life, while his hair which was shaved off pre-surgery has now grown back to cover the giant scar he has as a permanent reminder of his painful experience.

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