A Britain’s strongest man hopeful has been forced to pull out of the competition - after dropping a 125kg weight on his BIG TOE.
Strongman Matthew Heys (33) was set to sail into the finals of the contest until the load plummeted from a four-and-a-half foot platform.
He tried to move out of the way but the heavy keg caught the end of his boot - crushing his toe inside.
It’s still not clear how much damage has been done, but his dreams were shattered when he finished 6th in the semi-finals of the Elite Britain’s Strongest Man 2015.
It means he narrowly missing the opportunity to qualify for the Arnold World Amateur Strongman Championships next year in the USA.
Dad-of-two Matthew said: “It’s devastating really. I was doing so well and was down to finish second or third, and was definitely going through to the finals.
“I was piling these two 125kg kegs and a 130kg sack on to the platform and the second one slipped off and back towards my foot.
“I moved my foot back but not enough and it landed on my toe.
“It was agony. I was rolling around on the floor screaming. I had no idea how much damage I’d done.”
Matthew had to be given gas and air as he began hyperventilating from the shock following the blow at the event in Billingham, Teeside, on Sunday.
I moved my foot back but not enough and it landed on my toeMatthew Heys
He was admitted to North Tees and Hartlepool hospital and underwent surgery on his toe on Monday.
WARNING: Graphic image of the injured toe below
The toe was found to have been crushed and had split down the side as well as damaging the webbing in between his toe.
He was released on Tuesday after being kept in overnight for observations and returned home to Colne, where he is recovering.
However, despite only taking up the sport two years ago, he now faces the devastating reality he will not compete in next year’s competition.
Matthew said: “To say it was an anti-climax is an understatement and I’m very disappointed with the injury.
“I only started training two years ago and I took to it so I was thrown in at the deep end.
“I’ve worked really hard to get where I am today and it’s devastating to think it could be the end of the road.
“I still don’t know how much damage I’ve done. I may need more surgery but I’ve got to wait and see when I next see my consultant.
“I won’t ever give up on the sport as I’ve put so much into it and love it dearly but I need to give the toe time to heal and to regain my confidence.
“It’s such a shame because it would have topped off a great year having taken part in 10 events and winning the Elite North of England’s Strongest Man Competition in June.”