ben player 2

ben player 2

The three-time bodyboarding world champion Ben Player had to be airlifted to hospital by the Irish Cost Guard on Monday, after sustaining serious injuries at the unforgiving slab known as Riley's. Player suffered a ruptured spleen and internal bleeding due to the force of impact upon trying to land an aerial manoeuvre, and was admitted to intensive care soon after.

Thankfully the damage doesn't appear to be too severe, and he's expected to be back in the water in time for the start of the 2015 APB World Tour, which doesn't start until May. Yesterday Player posted the following photo and message on his Facebook page, thanking everyone involved in the rescue operation:

ben player ireland 1

ben player ireland 1

"Just wanted to send out a massive thanks to @pedro2468, the crew at ‪#‎irishcoastguard‬ and everyone else that helped me yesterday to get me to hospital and make sure I'm safe (that's me getting airlifted out). It turned out I received a level 2 tear in my spleen as a result of blunt force trauma. The good news is that I will be able to keep my spleen and I'm on the mend, which is good news because I quite like my spleen! Also, thanks to everyone for their well wishes and in particular thanks to @toddlangley @kaineder @jackjohns @esaltau and @nickbannehr for not only being an amazing bunch of guys and film crew, but for also for helping to save me yesterday. ‪#‎6ofthebest‬."

We like you're spleen too, Ben, and we're glad you're able to keep it. In the words of Taylor Swift, "Player's gonna play!" Here's some footage of the air-rescue operation uploaded by Australian surfer Jamie Mitchell to his Instagram account:

Never a dull moment here in #ireland ! Last day of my trip and fellow aussie @ben_player who is a 3x World Bodyboard Champ had to be airlifted out to #intesivecare with a ruptured spleen and internal bleeding ! Amazing Job by the Irish Coast Guard and @pedro2468 for a quick response! Get well soon Mate! @sligokayaktours @conormaguiree @seamusmcgoldrick @supforall

A video posted by Jamie Mitchell (@jamie_mitcho) on

Player said he sustained the injury trying to land a regulation forward air. "Crazy because the day before we were surfing 15-foot waves and I did an air forward on the biggest wave I've ever hit and nothing happened! All good though. I should be out of hospital tomorrow and back into it in a few weeks."

The iconic left-hander Riley's is renowned for its lightning-quick take-off and thick emerald lip that projects violently outwards into terrifyingly shallow water.

Photo: George Karbus