Devon referee hailed as a 'life-saver' by Albion Ladies player

04 Dec 2018 12:37 | Sara Raine

DEVON referee Dean Davies has been described as a ‘life-saver’ after his quick reactions while officiating Cullompton Ladies’ match with Plymouth Albion Ladies last month.

Albion player Jessie Humber broke her neck in the game, but she says she might not be even be alive had it not been for Davies.

The long-serving referee grabbed her head to stop it hitting the ground as she started collapsing after initially trying to sit up.

He and medical staff then kept her head still for nearly an hour on a wet and muddy pitch before she was able to be taken to hospital.

In an interview to the BBC, Humber 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.”

Humber met up with Davies at the weekend as he was one of the officials at her brother’s game and she was able to thank him personally. She had her picture taken with him, which has now become her new Facebook profile picture.

The RNLI lifeguard will be in a halo for the next three months in the hope that this will repair the damage to her neck.

Humber did get support from the RFU after they were made aware of the injury.

Serious injuries in rugby are rare, but the RFU have procedures in place if they do occur that addresses the needs of the injured individual, their next of kin, and those involved and which also protect the reputation of the club, the RFU and the game.

The RFU run a Sports Injuries Administrator Helpline that clubs must ring in the event of a really serious injury.

They can then appoint an RFU Injured Player Welfare Officer (IPWO) to co-ordinate the player’s immediate welfare needs.

The full procedure of what to do if a player in your club does suffer a very serious injury can be found at