THE parents of a promising young footballer, who was rushed to hospital after an innocent game of “tag” went disastrously wrong, have issued a road safety plea in a bid to stop a “more serious tragedy”.
Wayne and Dawn McGregor were left fearing the worst when their 10-year-old son was struck by a taxi as he played with friends near their Cricketers Way home last week.
The football-mad youngster, who plays for youth side CK Andover, was attempting to run away from his older brother when he shot out into the road from between two cars.
Just seconds later he was clipped by the wing mirror of an oncoming taxi.
Young Zac was sent flying into a parked car, smashing his head into the vehicle’s tyre as he crashed to the floor.
His brothers rushed to get help from dad, Wayne, 45, who arrived to find his young son surrounded by a pool of blood.
Recalling the moment, he said: “I thought he was dead.
“Those few seconds were the worst feeling I’ve ever felt.
“I honestly thought he was gone.”
Photographer Wayne cried out his son’s name and was quickly relieved to see him open his eyes.
He was aided by Zac’s godmother, Julie Sams, who lives nearby and had heard the accident, and two strangers, both of whom had first aid training.
The group looked after Zac and kept him calm until paramedics and the air ambulance arrived.
Meanwhile, Dawn, 38, was in “hysterics” as she rushed home from work to get to her injured boy.
Zac was later taken to Southampton General Hospital with a broken leg and deep cuts to his face.
The Vigo Primary School student spent the next six days in hospital, some of which he spent in traction.
He was finally released from hospital on Tuesday.
Since his release, Wayne and Dawn say they want to warn other parents about the dangers of children playing near roads.
Wayne said: “We’ve always told our kids not to play up on the bit of the estate where the road is, but kids are kids.
“We’ve certainly learnt something from this and so have Zac and the kids.
“Hopefully by spreading the message to take care around roads we can make people aware and make sure something like this or something even worse doesn’t happen.”
He added: “I also hope it make drivers think about slowing down when they are in pedestrian areas.
“The taxi driver did absolutely nothing wrong – we know it was Zac that ran out in front of him.
“But he was only doing about 15-20mph and that might have been the difference between Zac having a broken leg or something much worse.”
Dawn, a care worker, added: “If a child gets hit it doesn’t just affect that child.
“It affects the whole family.
I’m still struggling with it now. I wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone.”
Talented footballer Zac, nicknamed “Zacattack”, admits he has also learnt from the experience.
The youngster, who is currently top scorer for his side, said: “I will be a lot more careful near roads now and so will my friends.
“I also don’t think people should play games with cars because you can get really hurt.”
As well as their road safety plea, the family has also praised the “amazing” support of the Andover community following the accident.
Zac’s story was shared on social media this week and he has since had hundreds of messages of support.
The youngster has also been given two FC Barcelona shirts by kind Andoverians, who offered their help after hearing that Zac’s “favourite”
red and blue strip was cut off by paramedics.
Zac will spend the next few weeks using a wheelchair and a walking support while his broken leg heals.
He hopes to return to football next season.