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John Black assault trial — court hears single punch ended Dundee starlet’s career

John Black, right, was found unconscious on Old Hawkhill on October 8.
John Black, right, was found unconscious on Old Hawkhill on October 8.

A former Dundee football starlet has told a court how an alleged assault ruined his career — because a single header could cost now him his life.

John Black was a gifted player on the books of Dundee FC when he suffered serious head injuries in the incident in Old Hawkhill in October last year.

Dundee Sheriff Court heard Robert Chambers, 24, knocked Mr Black unconscious “with a single punch” in the early hours following a night out.

He was left on the road, with blood coming from his ears, and spent ten days in a coma after being rushed to Ninewells Hospital.

Chambers, of Craigmount Road, denies the accusation.

Mr Black gave evidence on the opening day of the trial, telling the court any future prospects of returning to full-time professional football had ended as a result of the injuries he sustained.

The 21-year-old call centre worker had been on a night out with friends in his home town, Blairgowrie before heading to Dundee.

Mr Black said he has no recollection of the incident.

He said: “The next thing I remember is waking up in hospital and having staples in my head.

“I was told I was in a coma for 10 days. I felt rubbish. It was just before Christmas and I just wanted to go home.

“I was going to try and get back in to professional football but I lost all my strength and co-ordination.

“I am recovering day by day, but I can’t do things I was going to do before. I worry about going out with my friends.

“I can’t play professional football again. If I was to head the ball it could be fatal. I had also considered applying for work off-shore, but companies might not now employ me because of my injury.”

Depute fiscal Eilidh Robertson told the court paramedics arrived at the scene shortly after 2.30am on October 8.

She said: “They traced John Black lying on the ground unconscious with a wound on the back of his head and blood coming from his ears.

“He was then transported to Ninewells Hospital by ambulance.

“He was placed on life support and it was discovered he had a fractured skull and an eye socket injury. He was transferred to intensive care.

“Mr Black then underwent an operation to have part of his skull removed. He was then transferred to Royal Victoria hospital.

“Initially he had to wear a helmet to protect his skull.”

Ms Robertson told the court Mr Black was not given the all-clear from doctors until six months later.

Mr Black had an artificial plate fitted to replace the part of his missing skull and has a permanent horseshoe-shaped scar on the right side of his head.

A number of Mr Black’s friends were called before a jury and Sheriff Thomas Hughes to give evidence.

A close friend of the accused said he had called an ambulance after seeing Mr Black fall to the ground after the “single punch”.

Jack Roger, a Dundee University student, had been on a separate night out with Chambers and a group of friends when they became involved with Mr Black’s group of friends.

He told the court he appeared at a police station several hours after the incident to name his friend as the man who assaulted Mr Black.

The trial continues.

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