British hockey player fights for career after ball fractures face

    Ward had 31 staples removed from his head on Monday.

    (CNN)A "freak incident" fractured his face in multiple places and damaged his retina, but a leading British hockey player says he hopes to recover in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

    Sam Ward, who plays for Great Britain and England, was struck in the head by a ball during an Olympic qualifier against Malaysia earlier this month.
    "Reports that I am retiring are completely not true and never were true," the 28-year-old Ward told CNN Sport. "It's rumor mill ... I do have some sight loss in my left eye but I still have peripheral vision and a fully functioning right eye."
      Ward posted photos to Instagram showing the extensive stapling that weaved through the middle of his skull. In all he had 31 staples removed on Monday.
      Ward plans to start rehabilitating in January.
      The forward, who has scored 72 goals in 126 appearances for GB and England hockey, spoke candidly about his horrific injury.
      "Staples have come out of my head today. I'm on the road to recovery and the swelling has gone down — I am starting to look like a normal human being again," he said.