Sam Ward hit in the eye by the ball
Sam Ward hit in the eye by the ball

British star blinded after horror incident

Great Britain hockey star Sam Ward's career hangs in the balance after he lost vision in his left eye.

The forward, 28, had been hoping to fire Team GB to glory in Tokyo, but a ball hit him in the eye during a qualifying event earlier this month.

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The BBC had reported that Ward had retired, but GB Hockey said the 72-goal ace intends to fight for his career - and place on the plane to Japan with hopes his vision will improve.

Ward shared horrific images of his injuries, after surgeons made an incision across his entire head to operate on his eye socket.

He then had dozens of stitches and staples across the crown of his head.

Warning: Graphic

British coach Danny Kerry won't know the extent of Ward's injuries for a "number of months."

"Over the past week, I have received advice from three separate eye consultants," Ward said.

"They have all told me that I have suffered damage to the retina of my left eye and that this damage is partly irreversible.

"I may get some sight back, but this won't be a quick process, and whether it will be sufficient for me to get back to playing international hockey only time will tell.

"It is a tough pill to swallow but, as people know, I am not one to give up easily and I will do everything I can to make myself available for selection for Tokyo."

The incident happened earlier this month at an Olympic qualifying match against Malaysia at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

"Our focus is on supporting Sam to the best possible extent and ensuring that he has access to the best medical provision and wider support.

"The players and staff wish Sam well during this challenging period."

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission.