Gammell winning fight for survival

LOCAL SOCCER: Young footballer David Gammell has always been a fighter.And today he is showing good signs of recovery after an accident at Ipswich Docks left him battling for his life.

By Elvin King

YOUNG footballer David Gammell has always been a fighter.

And today he is showing good signs of recovery after an accident at Ipswich Docks left him battling for his life.

The 21-year-old Ipswich Athletic midfielder is now conscious and off the machines that were keeping him alive when he was first rushed to Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge.

"David has always been a fighter," said Athletic manager Jimmy Marjoram today. "This is the way he plays his football and this is what has helped him come through this.

"At one time brain damage was expected. I have been told the limit of pressure on the brain can go up to 36. David's reached 35 and it was a terrible worry for his family and all concerned."

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David, who lives in Ipswich, has been with Metaltec SIL Senior Division leaders Athletic for four years – and has been a regular in the first team since the middle of last season.

"He came out of the army and fought his way into our first team," added Jimmy. "David has a good engine and is very fit.

"This has been another help in his recovery over the last few days. He has got movement and his speech has come back.

"Whether he plays football again remains to be seen, but if he carries on improving it is certainly a possibility.

"We were all stunned by the news and it was difficult when David was in a critical situation. At one time there did not look any chance of him playing again.

"He loves life and was always laughing and joking before a game."

David is believed to have fallen some distance between containers at Ipswich Docks and he suffered severe head injuries and a broken rib.

In the circumstances, Athletic did well to beat Melton St Audry's 2-1 last Saturday and move up to the top of the table. Previous leaders Walsham-le-Willows were held to a 2-2 draw by bottom club Leiston St Margaret's.

Athletic and Walsham meet this week in the second round of the Suffolk Senior Cup, and seven days later in the league.

"Walsham are a hard side to beat and it may depend on who wants it more," said Marjoram. "The league is more important to me, but you cannot write off a possible trip to Portman Road for the Senior Cup final.

"It would be nice to win some silverware and if we don't do it this season then it might not happen. We have been knocking on the door for so long now.

"We have risen to the top without playing particularly well. The best is yet to come."

Athletic have signed Andy Howes from Westerfield United, and he takes the place of the suspended Jason Evans in goal against Walsham.