Greg Clark was left waiting for an ambulance for almost two hours as he broke his tibia and fibula playing for Storrington on Bank Holiday Monday (January 2).
The former Broadbridge Heath and Worthing Town Leisure striker joined the club in November and was playing in a Southern Combination League Division 1 match at Selsey.
He had already scored when he collided with the home team’s goalkeeper, leaving the water utility firm worker in ‘agony’.
After initially expecting to undergo surgery, the Orthopedic team at Chichester’s St Richard’s Hospital decided that bone manipulation under general anaesthetic should be sufficient to allow the bones to fuse together under a cast.
It is hoped this will avoid any complications surgery can involve both short and long term.
Clark said: “It is the worst injury I’ve endured playing football so far. I don’t think anything can prepare you for the agony.
“As John (Rhodie – Storrington manager) mentioned I knew instantly that at least one bone was broken as I could see part of the fibula moving against my calf muscle when I was turned over.
“This wasn’t helped by the extended wait for the ambulance due to the service being very busy or over-stretched depending on your view point.
“The biggest frustration from the day was leaving the ground knowing there would be a long road to recovery ahead, especially after scoring.
“On the original article posted on social media a number of comments suggested I could have been moved. In hindsight I think we made the correct call despite the frustrating wait.
“Without the proper equipment like a splint, the joint would remain unstable in anything other than a supported position and may have resulted in complications in hospital. This would also be unfair on those not properly trained to carry out movements like this.”
Clark now faces a long period off work and an even lengthier road to getting back on the pitch, something he admits is in the back of his mind, despite doctors suggesting he could play again at the start of next season.
He has since been back for his first post surgery X-ray and said: “I will need to keep having these regularly to ensure the bones don’t displace.
“The team at St Richard’s decided that this would be the best course of action based on where the displaced bones were.
“Surgery involving pins and plates can lead to quicker recovery but there is a risk of rejection by the body and some people develop knee problems which wont help in the long run with running/football.
“I left hospital after two days but when you go home it hits you how much harder things will be for a while due to reduced mobility.
“Currently the pain killing routine often leaves me tired and drowsy but will be necessary until the bones start to heal more.
“After a few days you start to adapt and with the assistance of friends and family you can work round most problems.
“The staff at St Richard’s suggested a return in pre-season was most likely and they were confident of a full recovery but I’m not thinking that far ahead yet. The next milestone will be the injured leg starting to take weight which could happen in around three weeks subject to sufficient healing.”
The striker also praised the hospital staff for their care, adding: “I would like to extend my thanks to all the staff involved with my care at St Richard’s. They do a great job in what must be challenging circumstances.”
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