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I had to retire from football after a nasty head clash – it was so bad doctors had to drill a hole in my skull

RYAN MASON has opened up on the sickening aerial collision that forced doctors to drill a hole in his head and ultimately put paid to his football career.

The former Tottenham star, now 31, was playing for Hull when he suffered a sickening clash of heads with then-Chelsea ace Gary Cahill in 2017.

Ryan Mason is now coach at Tottenham after being forced to retire
Mason was involved in a sickening collision with Gary Cahill in 2017[/caption]

Mason underwent emergency surgery to put 14 metal plates in his skull – held together with 28 screws and 45 staples – to save his life.

Aged just 26, the one-cap England midfielder was forced to retire.

In a recent interview with Jake Humphrey on the High Performance podcast, Mason spoke about the time he says he ‘died’.

He revealed he “remembered everything” from the incident and was conscious the whole time.

He said: “The pain was pretty unbearable, I could tell it was quite a serious thing, the body was just telling me that.

“I heard voices, people speaking, the process of getting off the pitch, putting a neck brace on, going into the ambulance and going to hospital, it was very very painful.

“Id be lying if I [say] I wasn’t scared and fearing a lot.”

Mason says he realised his career as a footballer was over when he came around a couple of days later and saw he had “50 staples in his head”.

Ryan Mason had to have 50 staples in his head after the horror collision

He added: “You could tell by the luck on people’s faces, my parents were worried, my now-wife was at my bedside, scared.

“My auntie, uncle and sister would walk into the room and burst out crying, it was like, ‘woah’.”

“I guess I was quite lucky at that stage as I didn’t get to see myself.

“The body is powerful The body was telling me I needed to sleep, I was listening and sleeping.

“It was a feeling of ‘I need to get out of this hospital, I need to get back to playing football’ that was my initial thoughts, which were crazy at the time.

“But I just wanted to get better.”

Mason then went on to explain how people close to him tried to “protect him” to how serious things really were.

He explained: “I didn’t know that I had a tube in my head, that they had to drain the blood from my brain.

“Four days in a doctor came in and wanted to take the tube out of my head, I was like ‘woah, I’ve got a tube in my head’?

“The next minute he is pulling that out and stitching the skin of my head.”

Explaining when the tube was inserted in, Mason added: “Just before I went in to get scanned I went unresponsive, so at that point, it is code red, very serious.

“They drilled through my skull to start draining the blood as soon as possible, and that bought time to go through the operating theatre to open me up and see what’s going on.”

After recovering from the injury and trauma, Mason is now an integral part of Antonio Conte’s backroom staff at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The Italian boss visited Mason when he was in hospital, and the bond has strengthened since then.


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