A FOOTBALLER was forced to wait three-and-a-half hours for an ambulance after suffering an agonising double leg break during a match – then had to wait a further eight hours for a hospital bed.

Elliot Smith, who plays for Kinson Con FC, was injured at 11.27am - just minutes into the second half of the Hayward League Division One game against Abbey FC on Sunday.

But the 23-year-old had to lay in a puddle until 3pm waiting for paramedics to arrive despite repeated calls to 999.

South Western Ambulance Service has apologised to Elliot but said there were only a ‘finite number of resources’ available.

Elliot, from Winton, said: “The pain was indescribable. I’ve never experienced anything like it.

“It’s ridiculous and makes you want to get private healthcare. Nobody could believe it.

“We were fortunate it wasn’t raining. That could have got really bad.”

The centre back collided with his team’s goalkeeper as they both fought to clear the ball away from an Abbey FC striker.

When help did not arrive after 30 minutes, club officials called back three times but they were told the service was under pressure from a high number of calls and not to call again.

Players from both sides left traumatised by the injury called the game off while several waited with Elliot.

Elliot, said: “The worse thing was not being able to do anything. I had no pain relief and I was freezing cold on the ground lying in a puddle.

“My breathing was all over the place.

“The pain was unbearable. It was horrific to be honest.”

Elliot said paramedics were apologetic when they finally arrived at Cobham Sports and Social Club, in Wimborne, to transfer him to Poole Hospital.

“They do an amazing job and the delay was clearly out of their hands. It is sad it comes down to a lack of funding and there just aren’t enough ambulances on the road.”

The nutrition graduate, who works in product development and teaches exercise classes, was diagnosed with a broken tibula and fibula in his right leg.

And Elliot said it took a further eight hours to get a bed on a ward at hospital and he was forced to wait in a holding area.

He said: “There were lots of people waiting for beds so I didn’t get one until 12.30am.

“It’s frustrating the taxes and national insurance we pay doesn’t get you the service you expect. It was a very long day.”

Yesterday Elliot remained in hospital following an emergency operation.

His team mates are planning to organise a fundraising football match on Boxing Day.

Manager for Abbey FC Nick Plank who called 999, said: “It was ridiculous and beyond belief.

“Elliot was in agony with no relief laying on a cold wet muddy football pitch. He was going into shock and really struggling but it still didn’t make any difference.