THE YOUNG player whose injury had 13,000 fans at Headingley Carnegie holding their breath has made a full recovery.
And the story had a happy ending when 10-year-old Charlie Scollen was invited back to the ground to meet his Leeds Rhinos heroes – and was presented with a shirt signed by the team.
Charlie was playing for Leeds Underdogs under-11s against Stanningley during half-time of Rhinos’ 49-10 win over Warrington Wolves last Friday when he was crunched in a mass tackle.
The accident left him lying on the ground, with what was at first suspected to be a serious neck problem.
On duty medics and members of Rhinos’ staff, including club doctor Jon Power, rushed to help and Charlie received lengthy treatment on the field, in front of worried fans in the South Stand.
His injury delayed the start of the second half and he was eventually taken to Leeds General Infirmary after being carried off on a spinal board.
The youngster was allowed home after tests at hospital revealed no serious damage and he was back at Headingley yesterday to meet the first team squad.
Charlie – who was presented with his signed jersey by Rhinos duo Kallum Watkins and Stevie Ward – said: “I am a lot better now, but I won’t be able to play for a week.”
That remark confirmed him as a genuine rugby player to the Leeds stars after his mum Kate added: “The doctor says it will be two weeks!”
She added: “The first thing he said to the doctor was ‘will I be able to keep playing?’ When he was being treated on the pitch was the worst 25 minutes of my life.
“They wouldn’t let me on to the pitch to help him, but the medical staff were brilliant – everybody at the club was fantastic and I think he has quite enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame.”
To add to the adventure, Charlie shared the ambulance ride to hospital with Rhinos hooker Paul Aiton, who suffered a broken arm in the second half of Friday’s game.
Speaking on behalf of the Rhinos team, Watkins said: “We want to wish Charlie good luck for the rest of the season and we’re all glad he’s all right and raring to go again.”
Warrington were also pleased to hear of Charlie’s recovery.
Spokeswoman Rachel Arnett said: “All at Warrington Wolves would like to pass on their best wishes to Charlie and were pleased to hear he was given the all-clear. It was good to see the rugby league community pulling together on the night and offering their best wishes and support. It makes you proud to be a part of the sport. We hope Charlie’s back playing rugby league soon.”