Young rugby player hit by police van has both legs amputated

A TALENTED young rugby player who was hit by a police van on an emergency call has had both his legs amputated.

Daniel Gallagher, 22, has been fighting for his life since being hit by the van ten days ago on the Isle of Arran.

Yesterday it emerged that, despite their efforts, surgeons had failed in their bid to save Mr Gallagher’s legs. His condition has been described as “critical”.

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Mr Gallagher, also an aspiring model, was airlifted to the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow following the accident on the Brodick seafront road around 10pm on 7 April.

As well as injuries to his legs, the player, from Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, suffered internal bleeding and a severe head injury resulting from the impact of the police van. Witnesses have described how the Strathclyde Police van had its blue light flashing when it struck Mr Gallagher.

Prayers were said for Mr Gallagher and his family at the weekend by local minister Rev Angus Adamson at the Arran Rugby Club annual dinner.

Mr Adamson said: “The whole island community has been touched by this dreadful situation and the thoughts of us all are with Daniel, his folks – and, indeed, with the policewoman who was driving the van.

“I have been involved in rugby for a long time and it highly unusual for prayers to be said at a club dinner.

“But on this occasion everyone thought it was wholly appropriate.

“It was something of a miracle that he survived the accident in the first place and we are all rooting for him.”

Just hours before the incident, Mr Gallagher had been playing for the Buchan Broncos in the Arran RFC Easter Sevens tournament. Broncos are an offshoot of Peterhead RFC.

The Peterhead side had been invited to the sevens tournament through the island’s rugby club’s links with their skipper, Ewan Rogerson, who used to live on Arran.

The accident happened shortly before the traditional after-match dance at Brodick village hall.

Peter Oliphant, one of Mr Gallagher’s friends at Peterhead RFC, has launched a campaign on Facebook for rugby players to change their profile pictures to ones of them wearing kit as a gesture of support for the injured player.

A spokeswoman for Strathclyde Police said: “Investigations into the accident are ongoing and Mr Gallagher remains in a critical condition.

“An independent inquiry is being held by Central Scotland Police into the incident.

“No report has yet been submitted to the procurator fiscal.”

Dave McDonald, chairman of Limbless Organisation of North-East Scotland (Loons), who lost a leg in 2000 following a sporting accident, said there was a range of support available, including counselling by people who themselves had undergone an amputation.

“We wish Daniel a full and speedy recovery. Our thoughts also go to his family and friends at this time.

“But amputation doesn’t mean the end of the rest of your life.

“For people who have been very into sport there are a range of sports they could play, such as wheelchair rugby, golf, skiing and even judo in Aberdeen.”

Mr McDonald, 63, president of Golden Oldies European Rugby, founded Loons after visiting the Murray Foundation, which also provides support for those with missing limbs. He added: “The main things is to keep positive. Your head and your mind are the most important things to keep you going.”

SHÂN ROSS