YOUNG Torquay footballer Lee Griffiths was airlifted to hospital by ambulance after lying unconscious on the pitch for half-an-hour in a Devon game yesterday.
Goalkeeper Lee,24, was playing his first game for Liverton FC against Sidmouth Town, at Sidmouth, when he went down after jumping to save a corner.
Lee, a builder and plasterer from Chelston, who works as a volunteer for the Princes Trust, was flown to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth amid grave concerns for his health but was later reported to have made a good recovery.
The South West Peninsula football league East game was abandoned 10 minutes into the second half.
Liverton FC manager Justin 'Ginge' Yeates, also in his first game for the club, said: "It was a horrible experience. Lee was lying flat out on his back in a star shape and he was completely motionless.
"One of our players Joe Brittain got him on his side in the recovery position. Then one of the Sidmouth guys, who's an off0duty fireman, rang for help. The first emergency vehicle was a fire engine because he had asked for oxygen.
"Even when he was coming round he was still groggy and it was very frightening. They kept saying 'talk to Ginge' but he didn't know where he was.
"But by the time we got somebody to go around and knock on his mum's door to let her know what had happened, he was sitting up in bed and ringing her from his hospital bed. We were quite surprised that they let him home again last night. We're just pleased that he's OK."
Liverton general manager Gordon Middlemass said on Sunday: "As far as we know he is home and well but it was very worrying at the time because by the time the air ambulance arrived he had been unconscious for at least 30 minutes.
"Even after he came 'round he kept dropping in and out of consciousness and so Devon Air Ambulance took him down to Derriford.
"The other players were very worried but then we heard that he was sitting up in bed and on the phone to his mum and now he has been allowed home.
"We are still not really sure what happened. He jumped and caught the ball and fell on the floor with the ball. A couple of players went for the ball but nobody thought there was any contact. Whether he hit the ground or not, nobody seems to be sure. We are just all very glad that he seems to be doing OK now.
"He has only just signed for us and this was his first game."