From football pitch to operating theatre – and back?

How does a football club manager deal with injury – when it’s his own?

Taking it easy ISN’T easy

Meet Richard Ibbs, 32, who is in charge of AC Milton.

Now it’s not as if he’s got access to the medical support and physiotherapy enjoyed by the likes of David Beckham, but that’s no reflection on his dedication to his club.

Rich sustained his injury whilst helping out his men.

“Basically didn’t have enough players to start the game with, we only had ten players so I decided to help the lads out and actually play,” he explained.

“So during the course of the game I was passing the ball with my left foot and a defender came through my standing right knee – and as they’ve taken it straight through, that’s literally thrown me in the air and snapped my patellar tendon.”

He wasn’t prepared for the pain!

A team-mate donated a new pair of jogging bottoms!

“It felt like somebody had literally blown my leg off. It felt like I’d stood on a landmine or something like that – that’s the only thing that I could imagine it would feel like. The whole of the bottom of my leg felt like it was hanging off.”

After a disagreement with the referee about exactly how he was to leave the pitch, he ended-up having to be “manhandled” off by his team members, then taken to hospital.

Initially Rich thought he’d “just sprained something” but ended up undergoing surgery to replace his kneecap and stitch back his tendon, because there was a five-to-six centimetre gap between the ends of it.

Rich in action on the pitch

He’ll be in a leg splint for four weeks, then in a brace with restricted movement for six more – and that’s before he even starts physio on the leg.

“If I was a tradesman, you’d be talking 10 weeks off work. Because I do have an office-based job, hopefully, I can possibly even start work from home maybe in four weeks, but it’s going to be quite a substantial amount of time off work.”

In the short-term, those 10 weeks will compromise pre-season training, and in the long-term, Rich has to come to terms with some very harsh realities.

Anyone got a staple-remover?!

“I’m not going to deny it, it’s almost made me cry while I was in hospital when they said to me after the ultrasound, you know, ‘You’re probably not going to play football again’ or ‘You’re very stupid if you decide to play football again at a competitive level’.”

Rich has taken his side to Sunday Coors Premier League from the Third Division.

He’s keen stress his club is a work-in-progress – ” a group of friends who are trying to evolve a community football team that everybody can be proud of”.

I’ve got a hunch that no injury’s going to get in the way of this goal.

Female sports reporters receive abusive comments

Good video but quite distressing – men read out sexist abuse given on Twitter to women sports reporters IN PERSON. I hate “keyboard warriors” as much as I hate sexism, but – sports aside – I don’t think the online problem is restricted to men. Whether I’m right or not, the message is simple – if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face then don’t be a coward and say it online! #morethanmean

Feminist Philosophers

Men who are not the original authors read (or try to read) some of the tweets.  The NYT provides some of the background.


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Choice – or is it?


Yes I do remember when all the above applied.

And you know what?

None of this was directly down to an unhealthy choice, it was down to a supposedly healthy necessity – I’d broken a bone in my foot and doctors advised me not to do any exercise that involved putting weight on it (in other words my normal exercise routine!)

Admittedly I could have been more creative in how I adapted my workouts but in practice this didn’t happen.

One of the many results was a limited choice for work outfits for summer.  A big bust, flabby upper arms and a slight belly are better off hidden under baggy black tops. The Guerrilla training I was forbidden to do would’ve sorted the issue.

Now, of course, that’s in the past. And I’m very, very grateful I can run today – I’m in my running gear as I type this and the sun is shining outside! Am I procrastinating?

Good Luck to everyone who likes working out but who’s still recovering from injury. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen! Hang on in there.

The Understudy

“I was walking with my husband on the high street and suddenly collapsed…”

There’s a whole lot of waiting going on

I learned the lines – but, as the Simulated Patient reserve, didn’t get the opportunity to say them!

The occasion was the mock sessions for exams junior doctors have to sit in order to become registrars.

So, as part of their assessment of their ability to carry out essential clinical skills, they get to meet – and diagnose – different “patients” in front of the examiners.

The idea rather reminded me of speed-dating, as you only have a few minutes for the candidates to come in and assess your case – although, unlike speed-dating, you do have to stick rigidly to the same case history!

Apps are available – but I learned my lines the old-fashioned way!

As we gathered in the waiting area, I asked the woman next to me if she’d learned her lines.

“I’ve been told I can’t say anything”.


She went on to tell me she’d had a kidney transplant, whereupon a man sitting opposite grinned and piped-up “So have I!”

The doctors are assessed mainly on their ability to diagnose “real-life” patients, shown here in a London hospital

Turned-out the vast majority of people in the room were real patients, with conditions the doctors would assess in a physical examination.

The designated Simulated Patients arrived, and the first of two sessions began.

I asked the organiser if the candidates would be able to tell who the genuine patients were and who was acting – but was just told  the SPs had to remain in character.

I guess they’d have a fair idea though!60497201

Another SP, Push (“It’s Pushvinder but call me Push”), was tasked with playing an asthmatic fireman who feared he’d lose his job because of his condition.

My  (unperformed) character, a 49-year-old computer technician, lost consciousness and collapsed in town, her husband unable to support her weight as she slumped to the ground – like me, she drinks too much wine, unlike me, she smokes 10 to 15 cigarettes a day and uses marajuana at weekends.

These – and other details – had to be remembered.

Decent reading material is essential!

Now, I haven’t had to learn lines since I was in the school play (Nicole the maid in Moliere’s “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme”!) .

I did this the old-fashioned, time-honoured way by reading them then reciting back in my head, but felt I needed a bit of a prompt, so a Google search yielded support to a brain less retentive than that of a 10-year-old in the form of an App called Script Rehearser which I downloaded on my phone.

Alas, I wasn’t able to really get on with it – so resorted to recording the script on my Android then playing it back as I did things like making a cup  of coffee, putting my makeup on, etc.

Another SP, Nicola, a trained actor who regularly does a lot of amateur dramatics, also downloaded Script Rehearser but had no better luck than I had.

I didn’t get to have a go as a Simulated Patient on this occasion – I but I was told they were still grateful I was there as a standby.

In any case, I had no problems with sitting for hours reading a Jilly Cooper novel, eating too many free sandwiches – and getting paid for it!


Jonty’s Journey – the update

20151128_134544ACL (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.

A tiny scar – and Christmas socks

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…

Jonty presents a regular podcast with Stoke City player Chris Iwelumo

“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. 20151128_141112

“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!


Happy Birthday Ragen!

untitled (7)Ragen Chastain of Dances With Fat marks her birthday today.

Her mission statement? Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are Not Size Dependent.

She has to field a lot of inane hate-mail – one advising that “Suicide would be a favor (sic) to humanity”. There has even been a post on WordPress questioning the validity of her achievements.

Yet still she keeps on going!

Ragen says: “Nothing says ‘Happy Birthday Ragen!’ like standing up to fat bigotry and oppression, so my suggestion for this Say Something Sunday is to post something awesomely body affirming to social media, here is an option (if it’s not for you that’s totally cool, feel free to post something that makes sense for you!)”explosion-of-body-appreciation1

Virtual Patient

Having had my share of experience as a real patient this year, I’ve now become a pretend one.which illness do I have today

Simulated patients help medical students brush up on their interpersonal skills.

Or, as the barman at my local put it: “You’re being paid to pretend to be ill? It doesn’t work why I try it!”

So, at the induction, we were invited to role-play.

I need to remember the correct side to grip when I'm in 'pain'
I need to remember the correct side to grip when I’m in ‘pain’

You have to remember what’s on your piece of paper – you’re Brenda/n,  in your early 50s, you were woken with an agonising pain which hasn’t gone away despite taking your partner’s pain-killers etc etc.

You don’t need acting experience – the only fellow “patient” I met with a performing arts background was more into music (piano) than drama.

Oh yes, and in answer to what I imagine would be another FAQ, you don’t have to undress.

I thought I was doing relatively well as I clutched my left side and writhed in agony before remembering the pain was supposed to be under my right ribs.

Fortunately times have changed - Imagine being examined in front of this lot!
Fortunately times have changed – imagine being examined in front of this lot!

I also was told I had to remain as “Brenda” whilst giving my feedback to the student after the roleplay, even though I was no longer “in pain”!

On a serious level, it’s important doctors learn to be personable enough to get the verbal information they need from patients.

Could this be this a hypochondriac's dream job?
Could this be this a hypochondriac’s dream job?

And it’s vital they get to practice in role-play scenarios – rather than on real, live people who could be very distressed.

(I do know people who have been examined in front of groups of medical students, who for whatever reason, have not felt in a position to refuse their “audience”).

How many medical students are people-focussed?
How many students contemplating a career in medicine are people-focused?

But how many people do go into Medicine because they’re people-focused – or just academic high achievers?

Whatever the answer to this one – and I will leave this metaphorical question mark hanging in the air –  the students I met on my induction were really pleasant.

The woman I did my role-play with wanted to be a GP, another guy wanted to be a plastic surgeon (‘breasts or hands’). I’ve always been intrigued as to how doctors decide on their specialities, can’t you tell?

I’ve just realised this must seem a hypochondriac’s dream job!

So let me explain – for me it’s casual work to fit in with my freelancing – there’s been a lot of that recently, which, coupled with a laptop saga I won’t bore you with, has meant a drop in blogging activity.

And now, guess what – I’m off for a run!

Back to Blog

Just a quick post to mark my return to the Blogosphere!

The way of the Futurama - I'm on it
The way of the Futurama – I’m on it

If I’m honest, I’ve been working pretty much every day for the last month – doing stuff I love, admittedly – but it does rather tend to take over.

I’m certainly looking forward to getting back into my workout gear again.

My question is – how on earth do people manage to do it all?

I still regard myself as a relatively rooky blogger so any advice will be welcome!

The challenge of the written word?

A lot of the time travelling with work means I live out of a rucksack.

That, in turn, leads to packing issues with the laptop – so in practice that means no laptop no blog.

The mending metatarsal sometimes reminds me of its presence as I walk down the street – as if to let me know that, this time, it’s not to blame for my lack of an exercise regime.

I'm getting there...
I’m getting there…

From an intellectual point of view my brain’s still relatively scrambled – therefore I plead guilty your honour to my current lack of sizzling creativity.

Meanwhile I’m looking forward to some glorious updates both regarding my own fitness progress and everyone else’s – so watch this space!