A former Dundee footballer whose career was ended with a horror head injury says he’s often brought to tears when he reflects on his ordeal.
It was an ordinary night out with friends last October that would change John Black’s life forever.
John was found unconscious by paramedics on Old Hawkhill following an early morning altercation on October 8.
The 21-year-old from Blairgowrie spent weeks in intensive care and was in a coma before undergoing major surgery to have a plate inserted in his head.
Now working in a call centre in Dundee, he said his football career is over.
John, who was a former Dundee FC development player, said the incident had left him with physical and mental scars.
Robert Chambers had been accused of assaulting John, and although he admitted punching him, he said he did so in self-defence.
The charge was found not proven by a majority following a jury trial at Dundee Sheriff Court, which ended on Friday.
Giving his first interview following the verdict, John labelled the decision a “joke” and said he would be left suffering the consequences “forever”.
He said: “In the build-up to the case I was visiting a psychologist.
“I’ve been taking anti-anxiety pills to cope with what happened.
“As a result of the verdict I would say I feel worse.
“It feels as though this has all happened for nothing.
“I’ll suffer the consequences forever.”
John has allowed the Tele to show the harrowing images of him that were taken around the time of his release from hospital last December.
He said: “When I look at these images of me there are times I’ll burst out crying.
“It’s when I’m alone that it hits me the most.”
John spent about six weeks in Ninewells in A&E, intensive care and the neurology high dependency unit following the incident.
He revealed surgeons had told him that he should never play football again owing to the nature of his injuries.
He said: “I’m lucky I’m alive.
“Being told I should no longer play football was very hard considering I’d been offered professional contracts.
“Looking back on Friday’s verdict of not proven, I think it is an absolute disgrace.
“It should be either guilty or not guilty.
“Not proven apparently only applies in Scotland.”
John is now keen to move on with his life alongside his partner Joanna. He added: “Its natural for me to look forward to the future.
“I’m an outgoing person and very happy when I’m in company.
“That hasn’t changed and never will.
“I will look forward to it as best as I can but I will always worry about my head as it’s fragile and any impact could be fatal.
“I work at BT taking calls, and I’ve applied for a trainee engineer apprenticeship with BT.
“Even applying for jobs will always make me think about my head and putting that first is a must, but it’s upsetting and annoying.”
The not proven verdict meant that Chambers walked free from court.
He will face no further criminal action over the alleged attack.