Monday, 6 June 2011

On the treatment table

Fantasy Bob missed his first match for many years through injury this weekend.  Some devilish affliction of lower back and/or hip has beset him causing him to take up to 30 minutes to put his socks on.  The top physiotherapists in the land are queuing at his door recognising how world sport is the poorer for his absence from the field of play.

In his long career FB has been mercifully injury free, his worst sports injury came during his spell as goal keeper during his post-graduate holiday camp experience in the Thames Valley when he broke 2 ribs - or more correctly had 2 ribs broken for him - and punctured a lung.  That kept him out of action for a bit.

Other cricketers have not been so lucky and many careers have been cut painfully short by injury of one sort or another.  Andrew Flintoff is one of the more recent examples.  Inevitably a crocks XI would be dominated by the pacemen and there are many celebrated examples of fast bowlers who had long spells out of the game or who simply could not go on.  Ian Bishop's and Shane Bond's careers were significantly shorter than they might have been due to back problems.  Simon Jones goes from career threatening injury to career threatening injury.  Imran Khan had a 2 year absence to sort out stress fractures in his shins.  Denis Lillee was discovered to have 3 fractures in his lumbar vertebrae - it took a year of treatment and a remodelling of his action before he was back in play.  More recently there have been bowlers such as Malinga limiting their commitments to stay in the game.

And this is not just a modern thing, Harold Larwood's career effectively ended with the final Test of the bodyline series. In Australia's second innings, his body finally gave way after months of pounding in on rock-hard Australian pitches and he broke down with a splintered bone in the ball of his left foot. Douglas Jardine refused to allow the hobbling Larwood to leave the field until Bradman had been dismissed. Partly due to the injury and its misdiagnosis he did not play Test cricket again.

But here are a couple of batsmen who also suffered:
Compton -
 pictured with kneecap

Denis Compton, the star English batsman of the immediate post war period, underwent major knee surgery in 1950 and in 1955, in a final desperate attempt to keep playing, had his kneecap removed.  Is now on display in the Lord's museum.  Despite being in almost constant pain and with movement limited after the 1950 operation, he still averaged over 42 in his subsequent Tests.  In his final test innings against Australia a few months after his surgery he scored 94.

Mike Atherton was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a degenerative disease which causes the gradual curvature of the spine and also ended the footballing career of his father.  He was in continual and  excruciating pain in the 1991 series against West Indies after which he underwent spinal surgery.  Despite a constant diet of pills and injections, he did not miss a single Test until the final match of the 1998-99 Ashes.  He had been virtually immobile during the preceding game at Melbourne, where he registered his maiden international pair. His career ended in 2001.

FB hopes that he will be back in the field before long.

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