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“It’s been horrific” – Ex-Leeds Rhinos man on nightclub attack that nearly blinded him and petition for change

Leeds Rhinos

A former Leeds Rhinos youth player who was the victim of an awful Boxing Day attack has set up a petition to ensure the same incident doesn’t happen to anyone else.

Matty Syron was visiting England over the festive period and was attacked with a glass on a night out which left him instantly blind.

Earlier this month Syron’s attacker, Gareth Dean, appeared in court to plead guilty to causing GBH with intent, something he’ll be sentenced for in early March.

The horrible attack saw funds raised for Syron and his former club Leeds Rhinos get behind him with messages of support, and he’s now spoken on the Rhinos YouTube channel outlining the petition he’s brought forward to make major change.

Recalling the incident, he said: “I was out on Boxing Day and I was glassed from behind, leaving me instantly blind. Over the past few months, I’ve had several surgeries to save my eyes.

“My left eye I’ve been told I will have to wait a year for it to heal as it was severed through the middle and then I’ll be getting a transplant in a year’s time hopefully to sort of regain some sight.

“My right eye over the last couple of weeks has gradually got better. I’m starting to get more sight, more colours, seeing a little bit more clearly.

“Apart from the eyes, I’ve come out of hospital and back into a routine. Trying to train every morning, eating well, looking after myself. We’re back on track, just taking it day by day really, just hoping for the best.

“I’ve got a couple more surgeries coming up, hopefully, to get some full clear vision. I’ve just got to take each surgery as it comes.”

“It’s been horrific” – Former Leeds Rhinos man on devasting attack

Matty Syron was part of the Leeds Rhinos system.

Matty Syron was part of the Leeds Rhinos system when younger and has since suffered this awful glass attack. Credit: Richard Long/News Images

What makes the injury all the worse for Matty Syron is that he actually lives in Australia so he’s had much of his recovery without the presence of family, something he’s described as “very tough”.

He explained: “Being away from your family is tough. In these circumstances, it’s very tough. My missus is worried every day. She’s now taking up my spot for parenting my kids. She’s running the show over there.

“I am getting better though, luckily, there are some good signs. It’s been tough. The last few months have been very, very tough. But like I say, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I’m just looking to get better, heal and get home to my family.”

He also revealed the shocking statistics surrounding attacks such as the one he suffered, explaining that almost 100,000 people per year are attacked with a glass in England.

“So much happens in the UK with glassing, 87,000 people a year are glassed and there are a few deaths,” he stated.

“I’ve had people contact me and stuff about what’s going on. They’ve been campaigning for over 10 years for this change. I just want a really big push and as many people to support it as much as they can and save people’s lives, we all can do it together. We just need these signatures.

“It can’t keep happening. I definitely wouldn’t want it to happen to someone I know or any of my family members. It’s been horrific but I’ve slowly got through it and I definitely won’t want anyone in my shoes.

How Syron plans to stop vicious attacks

Having gone through such a terrible event the ex-Leeds Rhinos man wants to ensure no one else has to go through it, which is why he has set up a petition online to make changes to the law.

“They’re very strict and it’s run perfectly. There’s no glassings, if someone knows that they’ve been had a photo taken from them and their ID’s been taken, they know they’re not going to mess up. It gets the idiots away from causing trouble, makes everyone want to have a good time and feel safe.

“The numbers don’t lie. It’s honestly, it’s great. No one gets hurt. There’s no glassings. I haven’t seen a glassing in 11 years. I’ve been there 11 years, not even heard of one. So we need change. We need to save these people’s lives. 87,000 people is just so bad of a number. Over a thousand people a week in the UK are getting glass. It’s crazy numbers.”

Everyone at Serious About Rugby League wishes Matty the best in his continued recovery and urges all fans of the sport to click this link to sign the petition and help make a real difference.

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