An overly-competitive father has admitted that he may have gone too far after breaking his son’s leg during a light kick-about in the garden. The incident occurred after Billy Harris, aged 8, had ‘lollipopped’ his father and scored in the makeshift goal, shortly after the boy was chopped down by a vicious two-footed challenge. Steven Harris from Wallsend in Newcastle upon Tyne said that he initially doubted his son’s sincerity, ‘He is always falling over, diving, crying and just generally looking for attention. So to be honest, I just thought it was the same old same old.’
Mr. Harris became concerned, however, when his son failed to respond to the usual ‘carrot and stick approach’ to his histrionics, ‘Normally, I go and get him a “Wham! Bar”, or a cigarette and he perks right up. Sometimes, I have to threaten that I’ll leave him at Alton Towers again, which usually shuts him up. But when he kept crying, I figured something was really wrong. Plus, after I had curled it into the top corner I noticed his leg was bent the wrong way.’
Ray Holmes, a neighbour and family friend, had been watching the duo battling it out on the hallowed turf and called an ambulance as soon as he could be sure the child was not faking it. ‘To be fair to Steven, it was a full-blooded encounter and it was a 50-50 challenge. It definitely wasn’t a dirty challenge, although the stamp afterwards was probably a little excessive. But once we’d viewed the footage from a local kid who by sheer luck had been happy-slapping an old lady nearby, we decided that there was definite contact! We tried a bit of ‘magic spray’ but it didn’t appear to make the leg any straighter and it certainly didn’t reduce his pain, so an ambulance was the only option.
The paramedics who attended the scene whisked the injured child to the Newcastle General Hospital, but initially had to contend with his reluctance to leave the playing field. ‘When we got there he was rolling around, screaming and bawling. Once we got him on the stretcher and into the vehicle, though, he made a remarkable recovery and tried to get off again! But the white pain he experienced when he tried the ‘Cruyff Turn’ persuaded him otherwise.
The young man is likely to face several weeks on the sidelines, and looks set to miss a number of key games of ‘spot’. In addition, Social services have threatened to place the children into temporary care as this is the second such incident involving Mr. Harris, after his eldest son, 16 year-old Kyle, suffered a concussion following a hostile spell of ‘bodyline’ bowling during an impromptu session of beach cricket.