Ex-Birmingham City player Joey Hutchinson paralysed in pool accident

Image source, Birmingham City
Image caption, Joey Hutchinson (right) made his Blues debut in 2001

Family and team-mates of a former Birmingham City footballer are raising funds for a pioneering treatment after he was left paralysed in an accident in a swimming pool.

Joey Hutchinson, 34, severed his spinal cord after falling into the pool while on holiday in Spain in June.

His family said the father-of-two is now in a wheelchair with "life-changing injuries".

The football club is holding a benefit match for the player on 6 May.

'Devastating injuries'

Mr Hutchinson's family has set up a fundraising page for the player, aimed at getting stem cell treatment to aid his recovery.

His brother-in-law Lee Savage said the consequences of Mr Hutchinson's injuries had been "devastating", leaving him paralysed from the chest down and needing round-the-clock care.

"He is continuing the long, hard process of further rehabilitation,... adapting to life in a wheelchair," he wrote.

He added Mr Hutchinson hoped a suitable programme of spinal cord treatments might eventually help him walk again.

Mr Hutchinson's sister Leann added he had suffered "life-changing injuries".

"He is a fighter and I know he will fight as hard as he can to get through this," she wrote.

Middlesbrough-born Mr Hutchinson was a centre half and was part of the Blues squad that won promotion to the Premier League in 2002.

Later he had spells at Darlington and York City before working as a senior welding inspector.

A club spokesman said: "His former team mates are rallying round to support Joey and his family.

"The team that triumphed in the play-offs and others from Joey's era, 2000 - 2003, are to reform and take on a Joey Hutchinson Select at St. Andrew's."

Trevor Francis, the manager who gave Mr Hutchinson his debut, will return alongside names like David Holdsworth and Dele Adebola and some celebrity guests.

Money raised from the game will go towards helping with Mr Hutchinson's care.

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