A talented actress has been forced to withdraw from her biggest Irish stage role after suffering a concussion in a freak fidget spinner accident.

Doctors have ordered West Cork-raised, London-based, Ayoola Smart, 22, to rest for up to two weeks after diagnosing the head injury after last week’s incident at the Wilton shopping centre in Cork. She was standing in a shop when a child standing nearby lost control of the gadget and she was struck behind one of her ears.

Ayoola, who has appeared in BBC’s Holby City and ITV’s Vera, as well as on The Globe stage in Taming of the Shrew, had been cast as Serena the Mermaid in Cork-playwright Lynda Radley’s award-winning Futureproof, which was to receive its Irish premiere in the Everyman Theatre as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival from June 16-24.

Directed by Tom Creed, it was also due to be staged in Dublin’s Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar afterwards. But fellow cast members were told yesterday that, as a result of “an unfortunate accident” and following medical advice, Ayoola can’t fulfil her role.

“This is a very sad result for both us and Ayoola and, of course, her recovery should be the priority,” said a spokesperson.

Karen McCartney was cast to take over the role and joined rehearsals yesterday.

Ayoola’s agents were not available for comment last night but sources said the young actress is bitterly disappointed at having to withdraw from the play.

Some schools have banned fidget spinners, with several reports in England of children breaking teeth and of being struck in the eyes by flying toys.

News of Ayoola’s incident comes just days after a consumer warning about the craze sweeping the world. Customs officials confirmed last week that they have impounded tens of thousands of fidget spinners amid fears over their safety. Originally designed as a stress-relieving toy to help living with autism or ADHD, the gadget has been in short supply because of an explosion in demand among schoolchildren.


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