A rugby league player who died twice on the operating table during surgery after two on-the-field attacks is warning others not to take the law into their own hands.
During two assaults within minutes of each other, Christopher Hall, from Kippax, was punched repeatedly in the head and then struck in the face during a pre-season friendly game for Kippax Knights Rugby League last March.
The 30-year-old walked off the pitch in protest before collapsing at Kippax Sports and Social Club having sustained life-changing injuries including a blood clot on the brain.
Christopher had life-saving surgery to relieve pressure on his brain and received 44 staples to the scalp, but his injuries left him having to learn to talk again and temporarily losing the use of the right side of his body.
He told the YEP: “It’s not worth it. The compensation is not going to change the permanent issues that I’m going to have to deal with for the rest of my life. I want myself back.”
Now 18 months on Christopher, who has played at professional rugby league sides including Wakefield Wildcats and Castleford Tigers, is still suffering from headaches, bladder and behavioural issues.
Having played rugby league since the age of 11, full-back Christopher has now had to hang up his boots and has not yet made it back to work as a self-employed landscape gardener.
He said: “We have got such highly thought of people saying it’s part and parcel of the game – it’s flowing through to amateur level. People’s get-out clause is ‘I didn’t mean to do that’ but if you have intent to hurt then you have got to face the consequences.”
Last week the two opposing players both received community punishments after pleading guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm at Leeds Crown Court.
Two players for Pontefract club Nevison Leap pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm last week.
Gareth Dyas, 29, of Churchbalk Lane, Pontefract, was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years, 180 hours unpaid work and told to pay £500. He struck Mr Hall in the face.
Steven Lawrie, 32, of Rookhill Road, Pontefract, was given 180 hours unpaid work and told to pay £2,000 compensation. He punched Mr Hall several times.
Lawyers for the men said they both were devastated and ashamed about what had happened.