HUDDERSFIELD TOWN defender Tommy Smith has spoken of his moment of panic while strapped down in a Yorkshire Air Ambulance after being knocked out in Saturday’s defeat to derby rivals Leeds.
The 22-year-old right-back received eight minutes of treatment on the pitch by medical staff after colliding with goalkeeper Joe Murphy in the closing stages of Huddersfield’s 2-1 defeat and was later airlifted to Leeds General Hospital after lapsing in and out of consciousness.
Smith was back at Huddersfield’s training ground on Monday morning having been given the all-clear and released from hospital on Sunday.
“I can remember all the game up until the incident quite clearly, but then I felt as though I clashed my head from both sides and, when I went down, that was pretty much it,” Smith said.
“I regained full consciousness when we were halfway to the hospital in the helicopter, which took me by surprise, and when I realised where I was I started panicking a little bit.
“I was all strapped up to keep me secure and the panic came about because I couldn’t really move.
“I remember thinking to myself just to try and keep calm, to close my eyes and hopefully the whole experience will be over in no time.
“Up until then the whole thing just seems like a complete blur.”
The former Manchester City trainee added: “I didn’t expect the whole thing to get the attention it has, but the support I’ve been getting off everyone has been really brilliant.
“My mum and dad and my girlfriend said the club were just first-class with how they handled it all on Saturday. They were brilliant and I have to thank them for that.
“Everything that went on was done in the right manner and I’m very appreciative of that.
“As I’ve said with regard to the messages, I’ve truly been taken aback by it all and I’m really grateful to the fans for all the support they have shown me.”
Smith was also grateful to Yorkshire Air Ambulance, which has benefited in recent years from the club’s extensive charity work.
“I obviously knew of the air ambulance before Saturday because of the club’s work, but for me to actually have to use it - it makes you realise what a fantastic service it is to have,” he said.