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Goalkeeper’s Death – Year After Mishap in Thurnscoe Match

January 1959

South Yorkshire Times January 15, 1949

Goalkeeper’s Death

Year After Mishap in Thurnscoe Match

A 26-years-old Mexborough miner-goalkeeper’s death in Montagu Hospital on Friday was, in part, traced back, at  a Mexborough inquest on Monday to a fractured skull he received 12 months ago in a football tackle, on Shepherd Lane ground, Thurnscoe.  The fracture never completely united. Two holes were left in his skull.

An abscess formed in the right frontal lobe of the brain, underneath the holes and when the wall of the abscess was ruptured meningitis developed.

The man, Fred Abel, collier, 10, Wragby Row, had struck his head in Barnburgh Main Colliery seven days before hits death.

Doctor’s View

The Doncaster District Coroner (Mr W H Carlile) told the jury

The doctor is of the opinion that the injury on December 31st caused his death, or accelerated it, and that being so you will find a verdict of ‘ Accidental Death ‘ ”

The jury agreed.

Coun H Swift. Barnburgh N.U.M. branch secretary, expressed deepest sympathy with all the family. Abel was a personal friend of mine, and I feel it very much ” he said.

N.C.B sympathy was expressed by Mr. H. W Dunk, solicitor

Abel’s wife, Lilian said they had been married 19 months

Kenneth Deakin, miner 17, Salisbury Avenue Thurnscoe, committee member of Thurnscoe Sports Football Club during 1947-8, said that on January 3rd, 1948, he attended a match between Goldthorpe Astorians and Thurnscoe Sports. A few minutes after the start the ball was passed to Abel in the Thurnscoe goal, and he saw two Goldthorpe players going towards him. One player jumped over Abel, but the other Wilcox, appeared to kick Abel with his foot or knee. Abel dropped unconscious, Dr McColm was sent for, and Abel was taken to Montagu Hospital.

The Coroner: It was an ordinary tackle ?

Deakin: Yes.

The Coroner: There was no deliberate kick by Wilcox ? It was just an accident happening ?—I cannot say it was deliberate but with a bit of quick thinking it might have been avoided.

John Wilcox, haulage hand, Tudor street, Thurnscoe, said that Abel ran for the ball, stooped to pick it up: the other player jumped over him, but witness collided with him and caught Abel’s forehead with his knee

Mr Carlile. Why did this happen? Was it an ordinary risk of the game? You had no enmity against Abel ?—No sir. I had never seen him before in my life

Wilcox added that he suffered for about three weeks with a cut and swollen knee.

The referee Colin Taylor clerk, Bentinck Street Conisbrough, said it was a League match. The ball was loose when Abel and Wilcox went for the ball and Wilcox was entitled to tackle Abel

The Coroner It was a fair tackle?—Definitely or I should have given a free-kick against the player

He gave a ” bounce-up.”

Caught Head In Pit

Joseph Alder, collier, 21, Beever Street, Goldthorpe, said that Abel had been working with him at Barnburgh Main Colliery for six weeks on December 31st they were walking towards the pit bottom when he heard Abel’s head strike something he thought it was the frame of the pulley wheel Abel, who was wearing a safety helmet said  “0o my head,”and added that he felt ” a bit dizzy.” He sat down about four or five minutes and then seemed all right and walked out of the pit.

The following Monday and Tuesday he complained about headaches but continued at work. On Wednesday, witness heard that he had gone out of the pit because he felt ill

An ambulance attendant at Barnburgh Main. Edmund Green, 35, Probert Avenue, Goldthorpe said that on January 5th. Abel told him he felt ill and asked for an ambulance to take him home. Later he was called to the pithead baths and found Abel unconscious. Abel was taken to hospital

Green, replying to the Coroner said that Abel did not report the injury to his head on December 31st

Dr Henry Lederer a Doncaster Infirmary pathologist who conducted a post-mortem examination, said there was a healed fracture of the forehead which had not completely united and left two small holes which communicated with the inside of the skull. One hole was the size of a small pea and the other one-sixteenth of an inch by one-eighth of an inch. There was a small abscess in the right frontal lobe of the brain, the wall of which had ruptured, with a subsequent condition of meningitis. The abscess corresponded to the holes

There was some connection between the holes and the abscess.

The Coroner: The abscess could be damaged by the blow? – Yes

Dr Lederer was asked: Do you relate the man’s meningitis with the blow or December 31st ?

He replied: “Yes I think there was some accelerating effect.”