Brave ex-Liverpool and Leeds star opens up on having brain tumour while PLAYING and recovery from life-saving operation | The Sun

DOMINIC MATTEO has bravely opened up on the brain tumour which nearly cost him his life.

The former Leeds United and Liverpool defender was diagnosed with a rare cancerous tumour in 2019 after suffering from persistent headaches.

Matteo was immediately referred to Leeds General Infirmary after the diagnosis, but his condition worsened.

The former Scotland international suffered a seizure due to the immense pressure being put on his brain.

And doctors had no choice but to perform emergency surgery to remove the tumour – from which he is still recovering.

Now, Matteo – who hung up his boots in 2009 – has revealed doctors informed him the tumour had most likely already formed while he was still playing.



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Recalling the ordeal to the BBC, Matteo, 49, said: "You can't believe it, can you?

"Obviously you get told what it is and it's been a childhood cancer and you've probably played your whole career with a brain tumour in your head."

Now that he's out of the woods, Matteo feels comfortable enough to crack some light-hearted jokes about the ordeal.

He continued: "I might have been a better player mightn't I?"

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Dominic Matteo's head after surgeryCredit: BBC

Matteo's family were held together during the difficult time by wife Jessica.

Recalling her husband's illness, she said: "It started off with headaches and a little bit of blurred vision.

"And within 48 hours, Dom was blind. He had a massive seizure, he was in a wheelchair and he had very little speech."

She told the Daily Mail last year: "Dom's surgeon Ryan Mathew took him down to theatre at 5.15pm and told me to go home to try to get some sleep.

"But I didn't sleep a wink. I perched on the edge of my bed waiting for the phone call, which finally came at 3am, after Dom had been in theatre for almost 10 hours.

"It seemed like an eternity, but it was the best phone call of my life.

"Ryan said he'd removed 90-95 per cent of Dom's tumour and that he was doing really well.

"He said he was sorry that he may have lost the sight in Dom's right eye.

"But I was overwhelmed with relief and gratitude that he was OK."

Matteo's arduous, and still ongoing recovery, has included having to relearn how to read and write.

He has come a long way and admits he's still not fully processed the life-changing ordeal.

Matteo said: "It was so surreal, really.

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"Because, like you say, you go from working doing TV or, you know, and the next thing you know you're fighting for your life.

"I think when I look back and look back at the photos of the surgery you're going through, you're llke, 'Wow.'"

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