Ryan Mason knew straight away he had suffered a serious injury when he clashed heads with Gary Cahill in January.
But after the immediate panic – feeling as if ‘something had gone off in his head’ – Hull City midfielder Mason went through an out of body experience which he feels offered him a prophetic look towards the future.
It was just 13 minutes into Chelsea’s 2-0 win over the Tigers at Stamford Bridge when Mason clashed with Cahill. He had successfully cleared a lofted pass, but was struck by Cahill’s attempted header as the defender arrived on the scene a split second late.
Mason required eight minutes of treatment on the pitch and, after being stretchered off wearing an oxygen mask, the decision was made to send Mason straight to London’s St Mary’s Hospital so he could undergo emergency surgery. Mason says Mark Waller, the Hull doctor, knew straight away he had fractured his skull as ‘the right side of my face was completely paralysed’.
The former Tottenham player has clear memories of the moment of impact and the searing pain that immediately followed. As the ambulance neared the hospital the pain started to subside, and this was when the 26-year-old entered what he refers to as a ‘daze’ and underwent an out of body experience in which he saw his partner, Rachel, and two young children.
Speaking exclusively to talkSPORT’s Jim White, Mason said: “The last thing I remember in the ambulance – I think it was as soon as we got to the hospital – I had this out of body experience where I was with my partner Rachel.
“We haven’t got any kids, but there were two kids and we were running on a hill with our dog. It was quite a strange thing, to be honest. A lot of people will probably say it does seem a bit bizarre.
“But she is pregnant now.
“In the experience there was a girl and a boy, but the girl was bigger so I am adamant we are having a girl now. It is so clear.”
Signs of his surgery remain, and Mason will forever have a scar on the right side of his head, evidence of the 14 metal plates embedded into the side of his skull.
He has been given the all-clear to play wearing head protection, and Mason thought he would already be back on a football pitch. He says he was fit ‘six to eight weeks ago’, but a CT scan revealed the gaps in his skull have still not fused together as well as they should have done.
As soon as a repeat scan proves the healing is complete, Mason wants to get back to starring for Hull, and feels he can become a better player, with plans to spend ‘another ten years’ in the game.
“My brain is completely fine,” he continued. “It is literally just a bit of bone that needs fusing together and then I will be where I was before the injury. I will be exactly the same person and hopefully a better player because I have had a lot of time to work on my body and study the game and I am looking forward to getting back out there and kicking on.
“I feel like I have got the body to go on and play on for a very long time. I am a fit lad, I eat right, I do the right things outside of football as well so I still think I have got another ten years in the game.
“I am looking forward to coming back and I do strongly believe my best years are still to come. I still feel physically and mentally [that] I have got so much to give in the game, and I think I would be doing myself a bit of an injustice if I was to call it a day now. I would always think for the rest of my life I could have played again and I don’t want to live my life with regrets like that.”
Watch the full interview, here…