Ryan Coltress was playing in a Sunday League game when he received a knock to the head. He later collapsed and stop breathing. Fortunately an opposition player performed CPR and he was recovered and ended up in hospital.
He took to social media and mentioned the referee in a tweet, I took exception to this as the ref would have been devastated to see this incident and I posted the tweet below.
This started a fair bit of engagement as some felt it was inappropriate for me to tweet my reply. I reached out to Ryan and made it clear I was wishing him the best of health as well as pointing out that is was unfair to bring the referee into this incident and that I believe the ref would received abuse etc. because of his tweet.
I was very very pleased with how Ryan responded to my approach with the voice message below
This is such a brilliant response from Ryan to a challenge by us in regards to everyone in football understanding that refs are not fair game and sometimes, please think before you post on social media about referees, particularly in serious incidents like this. I will guarantee you that the Ref would have been gutted about this.
This is another example that our strategy to point out to individuals, teams and clubs that some social media posts about referees can be very harmful even if the author had are not intended to do so.
We will always recommend referees to stop the game in situations where there is a clear head injury. However, players need to stop simulating that they are hurt when they clearly are not otherwise, genuine incidents like Ryan’s can easily be misread.
We look forward to discussing with Ryan our campaign to get more de-fibs and trained people at as many venues as possible in the grassroots game.
I can’t thank Ryan enough for his positive response and wish all the very best for the future.