Jessie Humber

Jessie Humber, who broke her neck playing rugby, said the referee saved her life by stopping her head hitting the ground. Jessie, from Padstow in Cornwall, suffered the injury playing for Plymouth Albion Ladies in November.

The 26-year-old, who is also an RNLI lifeguard, was tackled and landed on her head playing against Cullompton. Scans at the hospital showed that the referee Dean Davies’ quick reactions had saved her life. Following the impact, Jessie was sitting down and lost feeling in her hands and feet when Mr Davies intervened.

She said: “As I was falling down the ref grabbed my head. The scans showed that one of four fractures in my C1 vertebrae was right next to my main artery. If the back of my head had hit the ground it would have gone straight through it and I’d be dead. All refs have a duty of care but he went beyond that. He took control. All I can say is thank you - I owe him so much,” Jessie added.

Mr Davies made sure her head remained still for several minutes until an ambulance arrived. She has called on him to be recognised by the Rugby Football Union. Jessie spent a week at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital after breaking her neck on 24 November 2018. She is still wearing a metal neck brace and has been told she will never play rugby again.

The Voyagers are supporting Jessie through this difficult and painful time.