‘Otherwise I’d be paralysed or dead’ Dion Dublin speaks out on life-threatening injury

Dion Dublin visits Shirley as part of ClearScore campaign

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Homes Under The Hammer and Football Focus presenter Dion Dublin, 52, has reflected on the life-threatening injury that could have ended his career as a professional footballer. Dion was playing for Aston Villa against Sheffield Wednesday in 1999 when he broke his neck on the pitch.

Speaking about the terrifying moment in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, the football pundit credited his physio Jim Walker, Dr Barry Smith, and Mr Andre Jackowski, his surgeon, as without their help, Dion believes he would be “either paralysed or dead”.

Despite the seriousness of his injury, Dion revealed that he suffered “no pain” initially and had tried to carry on with the match at the time.

The star recalled: “There was no pain with my broken neck, I had no pain at all. 

“I went off the pitch and then I came on the pitch again to try and carry on, but obviously I couldn’t carry on, the body takes over.

“My shoulders were right underneath my ears just to protect my neck, and my physio Jim Walker, my doctor, Dr Barry Smith, God bless his soul, and Mr Jackowski my surgeon, those three people allowed me to be able to walk and talk today.

“Otherwise I’d either be paralysed, or I’d be dead – and it’s down to those three people.”

Dion continued: “Jim Walker, the physio, I remember him taking me off the pitch at the end of the game and he held my head for about 20 minutes while they strapped me to a hardboard and they pulled it really tight, and I’m thinking, ‘I can’t breathe!’ 

“It was crazy and mentally it was very scary not knowing what was going to happen.

 

“Mr Jackowski said, ‘you’ve broken your neck, I’ll make you better and you’ll be playing again in three and a half months’. 

“Three months and two weeks later, I walked on the pitch, it was incredible. 

“Dr Barry Smith wouldn’t let me go to the hospital until he found Mr Jackowski, the physio, doctor, and surgeon – amazing.”

Dion went on to give an update on how his football injuries are doing now.

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The BBC star said: “I’ve got a plate in my neck, which is obviously going to stay there for the rest of my life.

“It’s at the front, I’ve got it just below my chin. 

“It’s like a two inch by two inch square.”

The property expert admitted the only issue he experiences due to the titanium plate in his neck, which was inserted to hold three vertebrae together, is some discomfort in cold weather.

Dion explained: “The only problem I have is not pain, but when it gets cold, the piece of metal gets cold and my neck gets really cold.

“So that’s the only discomfort I get with the neck and the broken leg I’m okay with.

“I’ve had a double hernia, I’ve broken knees, I’ve broken ankles, I broke my nose three times.

“It’s quite a long list, but the game I played back in the day was very physical.”

 

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