17:23 14 October 2015
A 55-year-old referee was saved after he was knocked out by football and medics found huge tumour in his head.
Melvin Scarborough has been suffering from chronic tiredness for the past year and has been diagnosed with depression and was forced to quit playing football because he’d been feeling unwell.
However, he agreed when asked to referee again at a friendly game where he was hit on the back of the head by a free kick during a Sunday League friendly. He was rushed to the hospital and a CT scan revealed the tumour. He underwent a life-saving surgery three days later.
He said: “That football has saved my life.”
“I had only refereed about four or five games last season before I stopped because I wasn’t feeling well.
“I hadn’t refereed a game for over a year. I had even taken my name off the referee register and I had turned quite a few people down who had called up asking me to referee a game.
“Then I got a call completely out of the blue asking me to referee this friendly game and for some reason, I really don’t know why, I said yes.”
“I don’t ever referee friendly games and I said no at first. But for some reason during that phone call I agreed. I’m so glad I did. “
"Even when he got to the pitch the game was nearly cancelled because there was double booking and they had to play on AstroTurf.
“When the ball hit me on the back of my head, I was walking away from the pitch to the sidelines to give the player space to take his freekick.
“It actually knocked me out for a few minutes and because I fell to the ground face first, my bottom teeth were all broken and I had cuts to my face.
“I was quite badly injured and the player who had kicked the ball into me was distraught.
“I have been refereeing for 20 years and I’ve never been hit by a ball before, not even on the legs."