A PAINTBALL shot in a rather painful place on his stag do almost ruined a groom's wedding day – and his wedding tackle.
Dan Littlejohn was with more than a dozen friends at the Delta Force paintballing site, off Balcombe Road, in Maidenbower, when he was hit by the low blow which left him reeling, and requiring emergency surgery.
The 30-year-old told the News: "Immediately, it felt like they were on fire.
"I told the marshal – but I didn't want to show him and he didn't want to look so I went behind a tree to make sure everything was OK.
"All I could see was one big testicle, and it was getting bigger. It got so bad I was struggling to walk.
"But I did make it home. It was my stag do so I put on a brave face. I didn't realise how bad it was.
"We were all off to the pub, but when I went to change it was so painful I couldn't put my trousers on. I had to wear jogging bottoms and came home early. I was shaking when I went to bed."
The next morning, Dan, an unemployed mechanic from Owlbeech Way, Horsham, woke early to find the situation had got much worse. He said: "I could tell it was bigger. It felt like it was going to fall off. When I checked it, it was purple and had doubled in size.
"We went straight to Crawley Hospital where I was seen by a sports specialist. He said I had internal bleeding and I could see from his face how serious it was. I was terrified.
"At the time, I was in so much agony they could have taken them both off if it stopped the pain.
"I was operated on at East Surrey Hospital. They made an incision and found my main artery had burst and kept pumping blood.
"I was so lucky. If it had caused a blood clot in my heart or my brain I could have died."
The incident happened on July 24 and, just two weeks later, on August 7, Dan walked down the aisle – albeit very gingerly – to marry his fiancée Gemma.
He said: "I felt like John Wayne walking down the aisle and could only just get into my wedding trousers. It really put a dampener on the day, and the wedding night.
"We only went paintballing because I've got a couple of big friends who wouldn't fit into a go-kart.
"I'm still not fully recovered. But I'm told I should be OK, and I will be able to have kids."
Dan is now calling for the wearing of protective boxes to be made compulsory for all paintballers.
Delta Force were contacted for a comment but had not responded as the News went to press.