ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) Injury is common among footballers – and can bring with it a frustratingly-long recovery period.
In April I spoke to Jonty Sargent – a football-mad sports presenter at Signal Radio forced to the side-lines by an injury sustained in a tackle during a Signal 1derers game in August 2014.
A catch-up revealed he no longer needs his crutches – but, in terms of regaining his confidence, it’s very early days indeed.
In May, surgeons cut a section off his hamstring and used that to replace two of the cruciate ligaments in his knee.
So he can do run-of-the-mill stuff which we mostly take for granted like using the stairs and walking the dog. He continues his “rehab” with twice-weekly physio sessions, and yes, he can now run and use the leg press at the gym.
So, I asked, were they ever times he thought things would never return to normal?
Jonty replied: “Well that’s the thing, to be fair I don’t think it ever will. In reality it’s always going to be that thing at the back of your mind…
“With playing football I’m unsure of whether or not I’ll really play again if not for a few months minimum at least. But I’ll never have a normal attitude to sport and running about.
“I’m always now going to be wary that it’s going to give way – and that it’s going to snap, essentially.”
And he knows he’s in good company.
“I ‘spose you get this with a lot of injuries – especially footballers and stuff – if you get a bad tackle and then, if you see that player again, or even walking back on to the pitch, you’re going to be so wary of it.
“And you see, in particular with footballers, that they’re never quite the player they were.”
However, he’s still involved with his passion via his work at Signal.
“When people who don’t quite make it as footballers (go into) radio and TV and media, I mean some people can go into the coaching and management, that’s the closest thing you can get to it which is quite good and I enjoy my job.
“I do miss football – in particular the big charity games that we get invited to play in and I can’t play in them, it’s really disheartening, but like I say being close to the sport in my job is something that I enjoy.”
Meanwhile he’s getting light-hearted advice on what exercise he can take from players like Jermaine Jenas – and, as evident in the video below, he’s sufficiently recovered to play Mini Ping Pong with Chris Iwulemo!