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Heartbreak Described By Former Footballer After Career-Ending Accident

Friday August 16 2013

The Jacksons The Jacksons

A FORMER Reds footballer whose career tragically ended at just 19 after a car crash says he suffers from depression and is too devastated to return to Oakwell to watch games.

Striker Chris Jackson played for England in his youth and made 27 appearances for the Reds. Tipped as a hot prospect, Chris, who was 19 when the accident happened, fractured his skull and spent six months in hospital.

He now uses a wheelchair, his speech is slurred and he's permanently cared for by his parents, Frank and Margaret, at their home in Grimethorpe.

Now 37, he said: "Every day is hard. It's heartbreaking for me to think that I could have been playing at the top but instead I'm sitting at home all day struggling to function.

"I go to bed every night blubbering to myself and thinking what might have been. I don't let my mum and dad see me but that's how low I feel.

"I could go and watch Barnsley and have been offered tickets for games but it'd be too distressing for me and I couldn't handle it. It brings back too many memories of my time at Oakwell.

"I did go back to a game once but I had to leave early because it was too painful. It upsets me that none of my old team-mates have kept in touch but they've all moved to different clubs and some have stopped playing now.

"I'm still Barnsley through and through, though. I'm extremely proud of pulling on the red shirt for my hometown club."

Chris is able to go to the gym every day in Grimethorpe with the assistance of a carer. He fondly remembers his playing career and can clearly recall making his professional debut.

"My first game was at Kevin Keegan's Newcastle, where we lost 6-0 and Andy Cole scored four," he said.

"I also remember my two first team goals, a diving header against Bolton and one against West Brom.

"I can't remember a thing about the crash, and I wouldn't want to anyway. Life is a struggle now, there's no point lying about it. I manage to go to the gym and it's my way of trying to do something, but there's not much else I can do."

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Reply Posted by rob bunting on Friday August 16 2013 at 10:41
good luck chris in all that you do. from your ex west green team mates.

Reply Posted by Jason Crawford on Friday August 16 2013 at 10:49
I remember Chris very well . he had the world at his feet. such a sad story. The Oakwell bosses should have a fund raiser for Chris and his family to show that Barnsley FC care . Chris I wish you well and I sure my dad would as well

Reply Posted by Lee Redden on Friday August 16 2013 at 11:05
Went to school with Chris and played in the same school team, he was a year younger but still better than anybody in our age group. I have no doubt he would have made it at the top level, such a shame is chance was snatched away. He is and always will be a top lad. Wishing you all the best Chris from an old freind

Reply Posted by Jez on Friday August 16 2013 at 17:43
Fond memories of ya playing for the super reds Chris! Try and keep pushing ya self lad and try and be positive! You're still very highly thought of in this town by many people! Best of luck lad! :-)

Reply Posted by bri on Friday August 16 2013 at 20:03
spent a week with chris on same ward in bdgh in 2001.....had a laugh with him and the nurses eh kidda..........chin up pal uve enough support around you to get through the bad times....good luck mate

Reply Posted by Lynne on Saturday August 17 2013 at 18:10
Can't imagine what you've been through hun, but stay strong and positive. I'm sure a reunion of sorts could be organised with your former team mates. I'm sure WAB and The Chron would be able to reach out to them.

Reply Posted by wiseone on Sunday August 18 2013 at 19:32
i know what your going chris i too had an accident that left me in a wheel chair i too had my footballing career ended [swfc]
you gotta keep ya chin up mate i went though the same depression,but i soon came to realise that that part of my life was over so i open the door to my new life,i now do all kinds of sport baskeball,archery.i swim a lot,i even race go karts[just for fun] so as i say chris chin up there is a light at the end of the tunnel

Reply Posted by Rob sharp on Wednesday October 30 2013 at 08:56
Used to work as support worker disabilities trust in Carlton . Stay positive mate . All the best from the welsh wizard .