SAN DIEGO (AP) — Striker Paul Mullin, one of the stars of the “Welcome to Wrexham” docuseries, was hospitalized with a punctured lung after a collision with Manchester United goalie Nathan Bishop in a friendly Tuesday night.
Mullin was attempting a header when Bishop challenged him just outside the box in the 11th minute and the two went down. Mullin immediately grabbed his head with his right hand and his left hip with his left hand, and was clearly in pain. He was down for about seven minutes. A stretcher and a cart were sent out and Mullin was surrounded by medical personnel, but he eventually got up and slowly walked off with assistance while wearing an oxygen mask.
Manager Phil Parkinson called it a small puncture and said the team didn’t immediately know how long Mullin will be out. Ryan Reynolds, who owns Wrexham with fellow actor Rob McElhenney, tweeted that “Paul Mullin puts his last drop of blood into everything he does” and that the entire Wrexham community was pulling for a speedy recovery.
“Obviously it’s a massive blow for us,” Parkinson said after Wrexham won 3-1 in front of a record crowd of 34,248 at San Diego State’s Snapdragon Stadium in the third of four matches on a U.S. tour. “Injuries are part and parcel of football and you’ve got to deal with them as a group and we’ll come out stronger.”
The regular season starts Aug. 5 for the Welsh club, which recently earned promotion to English soccer’s fourth tier.
Bishop was not injured and was booed every time he touched the ball after the collision.
“I’m fuming,” Parkinson said. “It was a clumsy, reckless challenge, preseason game. I’m not happy with it at all.”
Wrexham supporters often serenade their team’s best player with a song called “Super Paul Mullin” and it came across in “Welcome to Wrexham” that the striker is the favorite player of Reynolds and McElhenney. McElhenney was at the match but Reynolds wasn’t.
There was no score when Mullin was hurt. Wrexham scored twice in a seven-minute span and led 2-1 at halftime.
“The way the lads responded after that I thought was honestly outstanding,” Parkinson said.
Wrexham, the oldest club from Wales, finishes its tour Saturday against Philadelphia Union II.