WINNING BIGGEST BATTLE

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A PROMISING young rugby player is recovering from life-saving surgery after collapsing with a brain haemorrhage.

Fifteen-year-old Liahm Thurtle, a pupil at Rastrick High School, is in Leeds General Infirmary after he was taken ill at his Clifton home.

When rugby-mad Liahm complained of a severe headache and drowsiness, his anxious mum, Debbie, took him to the family’s GP who then referred him straight to Calderdale Royal Hospital where he collapsed. He was rushed by ambulance to LGI where he underwent an operation two weeks ago to relieve pressure on the brain.

His dad Andy said: “It was touch and go and it was very scary for a time. Liahm was in intensive care for three days and is now recovering on the neurological ward.”

Liahm’s dad went on: “He is getting better slowly but his short-term memory has been badly affected. Initially he was very confused and had no idea what had happened to him.”

Liahm played for Brighouse Rangers youth teams for five years before joining the Sharks squad at St Joseph’s Rugby League club in Huddersfield.

“We are being positive and hoping he will make a full recovery. He has youth on his side and, because of playing sport, he is a very fit and strong young man. He has had many knocks on the rugby field but has always been okay in the past,” said plumber Andy who also helps with rugby coaching.

Liahm’s parents and 12-year-old sister Hollie have been keeping a vigil at the teenager’s bedside. “It all happened so suddenly. Liahm had just been feeling unwell and off-colour - it was such a shock to find out he needed major surgery in Leeds. At the moment he is stable and we’re all trying to cheer him along - we’re constantly joking with him to keep his spirits up,” said Andy.

“He was allowed out of bed a couple of days ago and managed a few steps on the ward. The staff at LGI are second to none and we’re just taking each day as it comes.”

Liahm has been inundated with get-well messages from his friends on his Facebook site and has been allowed visits in hospital. “His girlfriend Savannah was with him when he was taken ill and she has been with him constantly.”

His best friend Aiden Hema, Arnie Hema’s son, has been a regular visitor and he even had a visit from Mr Seger, his former teacher at Carr Green School. Everyone’s been fantastic and the support of his friends has really helped Liahm along.”