Teen Soccer Player Who Smashed His Skull Could Be Killed by a Header

A teen soccer player had his skull rebuilt after an accident and is now playing for his team again, even though a single header could kill him.

Tom Buckett, 17, spent two weeks in a coma after smashing his skull "like an egg" in a 15-foot plunge through a glass skylight when he tried to retrieve a lost ball.

The talented striker almost died, and doctors warned that he would never play soccer again.

Related: U.S. Soccer Officials Too Dismissive of Heading Concerns, Researchers Say

After his coma, he was paralyzed down one side and unable to speak.

But he made a miracle recovery after becoming only the third UK person to have a bone cranioplasty, which saw a fake skull glued to his head. After months of intensive physiotherapy, he returned to the field.

Buckett, a fan of English Premier League team Stoke City, has to wear a plastic helmet for games and was warned that heading the ball could prove fatal.

But he said, "I'm so excited to be playing again. I've been waiting for this moment for a long time. [Soccer] is my life, and I'm just glad the fall didn't take that away."

Related: Heading Soccer Balls Could Lead to Brain Damage

Of doctors' warnings, he said, "I've been told not to head the ball in case my skull caves in and kills me. It sounds scary, but I'm not worried. I'm just happy I'm playing again."

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