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DANNY McGRAIN IS FOUND SLUMPED AT WHEEL OF HIS CAR; Scotland and Celtic hero missing for 3 hours after falling unconscious.

Byline: CHARLES LAVERY EXCLUSIVE

FOOTBALL legend Danny McGrain was saved by police after collapsing into a near-coma at the wheel of his car.

The diabetic Celtic and Scotland hero lay slumped in the driving seat for almost three hours before officers found him after a launching a full-scale search for the missing star.

He was driving home after a long business meeting when he felt faint and pulled his car over to the side of the road.

Seconds later, the 51-year-old dad-of-two slumped into unconsciousness at the wheel because he had not eaten.

When he failed to return home after his meeting, his wife, Laraine, called his mobile phone. But it was switched off.

Fearing the worst, she called in police - who launched an immediate search.

His car was found around 5pm in a side street in Linthouse, on the south side of Glasgow. Officers revived him and saved his life by giving him a sugary sweet.

Danny was still recovering at his home in Old Kilpatrick, Dunbartonshire, yesterday, reluctant to talk about his near death experience last Thursday.

He said: "It's the first time it has ever happened to me and I managed to pull the car into the side of the road. I had stupidly switched off the mobile during the meeting.

"My wife couldn't raise me and called the police. It was my own fault. I do a lot of work for diabetes charities but I don't really want to talk about what happened to me.

"I was at a meeting and it was my own fault at the end of the day."

Danny had entered into a hypoglycaemic state, when the brain is drained of sugar and tells the body to shut down to conserve what little there is left.

Without sugar, the brain cannot function and Danny was close to death, having already entered into a near coma.

Experts say had officers not found him when they did, he could have been left brain damaged or even died in his car.

But luckily, the man who has a place in the heart of every Scots football fan has recovered fully from the scare. He added: "There was no harm done in the end."

Sunday Mail doctor Gareth Smith said: "This was a life-threatening situation for Danny. The very fact that he was unconscious meant his body had already entered the hypoglycaemic state, which is fatal if left unattended.

"He probably did not eat enough at his business meeting to compensate for the insulin in his body. The insulin would then eat up all the sugar in his body and his brain would have sent shut down signals to his body.

"He was a very lucky man to be found when he was. The officers who found him did exactly the right thing. The important thing is to get sugar back into the body so the brain can start to function again.

"A sugary drink or a sweet is ideal, so they saved his life."

Diabetics suffer from the body's failure to produce enough insulin, which regulates the amount of glucose in the blood.

Hypoglycaemia occurs when a diabetic misses a meal, fails to eat enough carbohydrates or takes too much exercise.

A Strathclyde Police spokeswoman confirmed officers were involved in a search for Danny's car after a call from his wife to say he was diabetic and had failed to return home.

She added: "All our officers are trained in first aid and we were all delighted with the outcome. We are glad to have been able to help on this occasion."

Danny battled against the odds to become one of Celtic and Scotland's greatest players.

Determination was one of his finest gifts on the field and it also helped him fight serious medical problems throughout his career.

In February 1972, he suffered a fractured skull during a game against Falkirk and there were doubts he would ever play again.

But his burning desire to make it at Parkhead brought him through the tough time and he was soon back as a regular for Celtic and then Scotland.

During his sparkling career, he collected five Scottish Cup, two League Cup and seven Championship medals before retiring at the end of the 1986-87 season.

His career in Scotland colours was just as distinguished. He picked up 62 caps after his debut against Wales in 1973.

Danny has been heavily involved in coaching since retirement and his sole managerial adventure was an eventful year in charge of Arbroath in 1992.

A spokesman for Diabetes UK, the new name of the British Diabetes Association, wished Danny a speedy recovery and added: "He is someone who has been invaluable to us in the past with his work for diabetes.

"It's very important for people with diabetes that they make sure they test their blood before they drive.

"Danny had his own warning sign before what we call his "hypo" occurred, and that's normal.

"But unfortunately, he didn't have the chance to get something sugary inside him.

"We always advise diabetics to have a chocolate bar or some glucose tablets to hand in the car in case of events such as these. But the main thing is to test the blood before getting behind the wheel."
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 24, 2002
Words:876
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