A TALENTED snooker player with his sights set on the professional circuit has had his hopes dashed by illness.
Alex Taubman, 23, of Halkyn, is the third-ranked amateur in Wales, and was due to compete in an international tournament in March.
But after suffering the trauma of a collapsed lung his plans have been put on hold.
Earlier this month Alex was stepping out of the shower when he started to feel crippling pain in his chest and began struggling to breathe.
He had to pull out of a trip to Serbia where he was due to play for the three-man Wales team in the European Championships.
He said: “I was pretty devastated. I’ve never had any problems with this before but apparently it is like that. It just happens with no warning.
“I’m more likely to get it because I’m six foot and quite slim.
“I couldn’t breathe, my chest hurt, I was shaking and had a temperature.”
Alex, who names Ronnie O’Sullivan as “the king of snooker”, was rushed to hospital where it was confirmed he had suffered a spontaneous pneumothorax and was kept in for about a week before he was released.
But when he returned for a chest X-ray doctors discovered he still had a tear in his lung, which was allowing air to escape.
He was readmitted and underwent a procedure to drain the lung over the space of a week.
If this does not help the healing process, Alex may have to have further surgery.
He added: “It didn’t work the first time and I’m nervous I will have to have it done again because it was really painful.”
Alex started off playing pool at the age of 10 and switched to snooker when he was about 13. He has improved steadily, partly thanks to a full size snooker table at his home.
He added: “I was really looking forward to Serbia as this was the first year I’ve had chance to compete internationally.
“But I couldn’t get travel insurance and couldn’t fly because the cabin is pressurised.
“I’m disappointed but my health has to come first.”
Now Alex is hoping he will recover in time for the upcoming world amateur championships.