Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

'I just watched my leg expand, getting bigger and bigger': Rugby player raising awareness of little known condition

William is thankfully on the mend but said the consequences could have been 'unthinkable'.

A Welsh rugby player is hoping images of his horror injury will help raise awareness for a little known medical condition which left him potentially hours away from losing his leg.

Carmarthen Athletic Druids hooker William Rowberry received a stamp to the leg in his team's semi-final clash for the Castell Howell Plate. Like many do, he played on until the end of the game unaware of what was about to unfold.

In the changing room after the game, William's leg began to swell considerably. Four hours later he was on an operating table in the hospital.

The 26-year-old was diagnosed with acute compartment syndrome, a little known medical condition more commonly associated with motorcycle crashes.

The syndrome occurs when blood vessels become blocked leading to severe pain and swelling.

William was warned he was potentially 'hours away' from losing his leg.

William underwent two operations and was told by specialist, he could have lost his leg.

The 26-year-old said: "After having the stitches taken out, the doctor told me I was very lucky I got there on time. Any longer and the danger was I could have lost my leg".

"They had to leave the wound open for 48 hours and then they had to go back in to check if any of the tissue or muscle had died".

The hooker said his teammates had 'given him grief' initially as the injury looked minor.

Looking back on the incident, the 26-year-old said he knew something was wrong as soon as he returned to the changing room.

I knew something wasn't right after taking my sock off in the changing room. Putting ice on my leg made it even worse through they hyper sensitive nature of the injury. I went to Glangwili Hospital and I'm so grateful to the A&E nurses there as they picked up on the symptoms. They commented how shiny my skin was and spoke to one of the senior consultants in the hospital. Within four hours of arriving I was being operated on. I've broken bones in the past but never experienced pain like that in all my life.

– William Rowberry

Describing his injury, William said it was like "someone had lit a fire inside my leg", he added "I just watched my leg expand, getting bigger and bigger".

He's now hoping his injury can help raise awareness of acute compartment syndrome.

"This came from something so simple as a stamp on the leg," he said. "It's not a common injury, and when I was diagnosed with the problem, I had a lot of nurses and doctors taking a look to see the warning signs".

William is still recovering from his ordeal.

William said he was "put off" rugby for now and is focussing on raising awareness of the condition, and continuing with his recovery.