Knaresborough Town striker's half-time collapse prompts club to seek medical training for players and staff

Knaresborough Town have approached the West Riding County FA with regard to securing emergency medical training for club personnel.

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 2:54 pm
Updated Saturday, 4th December 2021, 9:12 am
Mark Simpson in action for Knaresborough Town earlier this season. Pictures: Gerard Binks

The Manse Lane outfit have acted after one of their players was taken ill during the half-time interval of a recent fixture and collapsed in the dressing room.

Striker Mark Simpson had to be substituted at the break during Boro’s goalless draw at home to Thackley last month due to him suffering from what were later diagnosed as heart palpitations.

And although the stricken forward was attended to immediately by club physio Matt Maclennan, Town’s first-team manager Rob Hunter said that he and the majority of those present at the time felt completely helpless due to not knowing what to do for the best.

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Knaresborough Town boss Rob Hunter.

“When Mark collapsed in the changing room at half-time with heart palpitations, it was scary,” Hunter told the Harrogate Advertiser.

“Matt, our physio, did a good job of managing the situation. He got Mark into a safe position and a couple of others who have some knowledge of what to do in these kind of situations jumped in to help, but the rest of us had no idea what to do.

“The club has a defibrillator and we had it ready to go if it was required but Mark came around and he seemed to recover, so we didn’t actually need to use it in the end.

“But the question is, ‘what do you do in that situation?’. We had a defibrillator however it wasn’t required, so in that instance, what do you do to help someone?

“That’s why we have spoken to the West Riding FA about sorting out courses about heart situations for our players and members here. I think it so important that we raise awareness about to what to do in instances like this because it could save lives.”

Hunter went on to reveal that Simpson was taken ill again later the same day and has subsequently been in and out of Harrogate District Hospital as doctors try to get to the bottom of his condition.

The Boro boss added: “Mark was well enough to come out and sit and watch the second half of the game. He said he was feeling okay, but when he attempted to drive home, it started happening again.

"He was taken straight to Harrogate Hospital and he’s been in and out of there but the doctors were initially unable to work out what’s causing the palpitations.

“We just wish Mark all the best. Everyone at the club is thinking of him and hoping he makes a speedy recovery.”

Boro are due to return to NCEL Premier Division action this Saturday when they visit Sherwood Colliery (3pm) following a fortnight off.

Hunter’s men secured a superb 4-2 victory on the road at Bottesford Town on November 20, but have not played since due to last weekend’s home clash with Barton Town falling victim to a waterlogged pitch.

Meanwhile, Harrrogate Railway manager Mick O’Connell has warned his players that they will have to be on their game if they want to beat Parkgate on Saturday (3pm).

The Starbeck club were beaten 4-2 on the road at Retford last time out, leaving their manager “fuming” with what he deemed an unacceptable display.

He has demanded a reaction this weekend, but is expecting a tough test from opponents who he says “do not give much away.”

O’Connell said: “I think they’re a side who are improving, they are starting to pick up points,” he added.

“They’re a decent side, they are well-coached, they stay compact and they do not give much away.

“We know that we are going to have to work very hard to break them down, and that we will need to take our chances.

“In our last game, we created 12 opportunities, but only scored two goals and they were both penalties. Retford had six chances and put four in the back of the net. We need to show that kind of ruthlessness on Saturday.”

Railway head into Saturday’s fixture at Station View sixth in the NCEL Division One standings, while Parkgate currently sit 10th.