WARNING: This report contains graphic footage of an eye injury. Viewer discretion is advised.
A New Zealand basketball player is expected to make a full recovery after his eyeball popped out of its socket in a scuffle during a game.
Breakers forward Akil Mitchell collapsed after the finger of an opposing player poked his eye and dislodged it.
Players from both teams recoiled in horror when the extend of Mitchell’s injury was revealed, before helping him off the court in Auckland on Thursday night.
Medics rushed to Mitchell’s aid and were able to slide the eyeball back in.
The 24-year-old told New Zealand’s Radio Sport: “I could still see out of the eye.
“I remember thinking oh man… this is kinda bad, but I actually felt it kind of out of place and that’s when I kind of freaked out a little bit.
“Once I got in the ambulance they gave me a little pain medicine and some saline drops in my eye and I felt it slide back into place, which is also a really strange feeling.”
Despite his initial fears he would lose his sight, Mitchell is expected to make a full recovery and return to the court soon.
Mitchell has tweeted his thanks and shown his sense of humour about the incident, using a googly-eyes emoji before joking: “too soon?”
Breakers General Manager Dillon Boucher told NZ Stuff: “It’s a miracle, I reckon.
“After seeing it last night I thought there had to be some damage and for him to be pulling out of it the way he is right now, it’s just remarkable. Certainly all signs are very positive.
“He’s at a specialist as we speak, but unless they tell him something different to what he heard last night, it’s all looking very positive.
“It’s just amazing after seeing how horrific it was, how quickly he can recover, and how the human body can sort itself out on its own.
“It’s certainly the most graphic thing I’ve ever seen on a basketball court.”