A former Bristol City youth player is recovering from surgery following a broken leg picked up in a local match.
Youth player Rohan Nelson was released by the Robins earlier this year, and has been picked up by Mangotsfield United although a recent injury has left the Bristolian on the sidelines for the next months ahead.
Mangotsfield’s friendly against Melksham Town on Saturday July 23 ended five minutes early following an innocent tackle involving Nelson and the opposition goalkeeper.
With just minutes to go, Mangotsfield winger Nelson charged for the ball and got there just ahead of Melksham keeper Conner Johns, with both committed to a tackle outside of the visitors’ 18-yard box.
The pair required immediate attention but unfortunately Nelson had broken his tibia and fibia bones.
Ambulance medics took the 18-year-old to hospital, and the player is now set for four to six months out from playing before physio work.
The game was ended following the incident, with Mangotsfield leading 2-1 at the time.
“All I remember was running for the ball and I also saw the goalkeeper coming for it,” Nelson told BristolWorld.
“It was one of those balls where I probably shouldn’t have got there, but I did. I’ve tapped the ball past and as the keeper has come to clear it , the ball is not there any more and he has fully gone through my leg as he swung his foot,” he said.
But the opposition that day showed their class, keeping in touch to check on Nelson’s progress and then handing over a good donation to help him through the coming months.
Opposition manager Rich Fey visited the young player to hand over the sum, as well as a signed Chelsea football for the avid Blues supporter.
“I spoke to the Melksham manager before he came to see me and he said the players had raised a bit of money for me, but I didn’t expect it to be how much it was,” said Nelson.
“When he gave me the money I was just so thankful that they had done that.”
Fey told BristolWorld that all of his first-team squad donated, after many enquired afterwards on the young player’s leg following the abandoned game.
“The next day a lot of the players were asking how he was, and his mum Mandy was at the game as well, and the players did it off their own backs,” said Fey.
“In the WhatsApp group one of the lads asked if we should do a collection and every player in the squad donated.
“The club also put in £100 and it’s mainly the work of the first team players, the lads he played against, which is brilliant given how times are at the moment,” he added.
Town boss Fey was particularly concerned about the young player and whether he might lose out on work as well, given the serious injury, and kept in touch with the former Robins youth player.
Southern League Division One South Melksham have also offered the use of their physio if needed.
“Fair play to Mangotsfield, the way they handled it on the night was brilliant,” he added. “I just thought it was the right thing to do.
“I’ve always looked after players, and players shouldn’t have to miss out on working income because of football.”
Mangotsfield, of the Hellenic League Premier Division, have also been supportive on every front too, while the player’s agency has an aftercare plan in place for him as well.
Following the ‘Field’s home match against Wick a week ago, Nelson was handed a further sum raised from players, supporters and staff of both sides too, with the total more than £1,000.
Nelson joined up at Bristol City in October 2017 and played for the U16s before completing a two-year scholarship. He was on the books of Bristol Central and Bristol Inner City groups before joining up at Ashton Gate.
He was released last March, after a lack of game time not helped by some unfortunately timed injuries then either, with a knock to his back.
He played alongside the likes of Ayman Benarous and Alex Scott, playing as a right-back then.
“I wanted to take a year out from academy football to get minutes in, that was the plan,” added Nelson, who hopes to be back playing as soon as possible.