Earlier this year I got injured pretty innocuously while playing football – the ball got played over the top of the opposition defence, I was through on goal with only the on-rushing keeper to beat. The ball bouncing quite high and I stretched my leg as high into the air as high possible (ie not very high at all), failing to make contact with it as the keeper took an easy catch.  I then planted my foot, with my leg completely straight and my momentum taking me forward. My knee was pushed inversely – with my leg trying to bend in the opposite way it was meant to. I’d hyper-extended it. I knew straight away something was wrong, subbed myself and haven’t played since. Initial diagnosis was that I had torn my meniscus (the cartiliage in my knee), however after taking part in physiotherapy this was not the case.

I was later diagnosed with a partial tear of my Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) – probably the most important part of your knee (except for the wonder that is the kneecap). The ACL connects your femur to your tibia, while latter traversing over the former – essentially it is what keeps your knee stable and stops it going in the wrong direction, especially up and down stairs, but it is also ridiculously important in football, when your knee is under extreme pressure from lots of stopping, starting, twisting and turning. If there’s one part of your body you don’t want to injure if you enjoy playing football, it was be this. I was devastated, a lot of professional footballers struggled to come back from this kind of injury, how the hell was little old me going to manage it? I undertook another course of physiotherapy, where I was repeated told that I’d most likely never play again. Physiotherapy went really well and as the weeks went on I felt better and better, the knee being able to take more of a pounding. I was given permission to take part in a light training session with my football team, and I did so, and felt great – I was twisting and turning, took part in the whole session and even bagged a couple of goals too. Even immediately afterwards I felt I’d been pushed hard but still felt great. Then I woke up the next day, the knee had swollen, the pain was back and I was back to where I had been six months previous.

Another trip to another specialist and another MRI showed that I had a build up of fluid around the knee cap – the reason being that although the physiotherapy had gone well I still didn’t have complete extension of my leg, which meant my femur was rubbing against my knee cap, causing the build up of fluid. I went away and did some physio on my own and two months later visited the specialist again, everything looked great and the diagnosis of a tear had be downgraded to a sprain. “Brilliant!” I thought, “I’m going to make it back!”. Within 10 minutes, my heart was on the floor again. The specialist was a really good guy, patient, kind but realistic, and told me that he’d advise me against ever playing again. I sat there, pretty adamant that I’d like to try and get back, even if it’s going to take some seriously hard work to do so. He referred me to a lady in London that works for a company called Bauerfeind, a Dutch company that specialises in sports-injury supports. She put me onto a guy called Simon at Harley Street – apparently a former professional footballer so hopefully he’ll understand where I’m coming from and be able to help. I also spoke to a Physio at a Football League club who says there is no reason why I can’t get back to playing, but it’s going to be a lot of hard work – and that’s fine by me! I’m off to Harley Street soon to get measured up for the GenuTrain® S Pro, but only once I’ve built up the muscle in my thigh.

I know I’ve been told many time that I won’t ever play again, but I can’t just accept that it is the case. I’m on 149 appearances for my Sunday team (and 51 goals), and I’m not ready to give up quite yet, and quite honestly I’d be an awful manager.

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