Our Club Reporter Liam Drury spoke to striker Ben Whitehead as the forward talks about his recovery from an Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury sustained last August.
Hi Ben, we’ll start from the beginning. How did you sustain your injury?
It happened away at Truro, I had just come to get a throw-in. I took a touch to set myself, the defender came in behind me to try and put pressure on me. I went to turn, my left foot’s planted and as I’ve gone to turn, I’ve heard a crack and a pop. I thought that it could be bad, the physio Becca came over, had a look to see if I could walk and I was going to play on.
I went straight to the gaffer on the sidelines, he said to not risk it because we had played on the Saturday and obviously this was Bank Holiday Monday. So, I came off to not risk it because you don’t really know until you’ve had a scan. I felt fine and wasn’t really having any pain, there was about 20 minutes left in the game. When we got back into the changing room, my knee started swelling up.
On the bus on the way home, that’s when I started to think it could be bad. Becca checked when we got back to the club in Weston and she said that there’s a possibility you’ve done your ACL.
I got the scan on the Thursday, then it was the following Tuesday where I sort of got the news that I’ve fully ruptured my ACL and that I was going to need an operation. My season was over, I had to prepare for an operation and rehab and that was that.
You had your operation in October. How did that go?
It was all fine. It was done within a day, and I was home that evening.
I was in a worse way than what I was before because I’ve never had an injury like this and touch wood, I don’t have any more in the future.
I was on crutches, it’s difficult not being able to really get about but the op went well and then it’s the case of the long, old road to rehab.
I just had to hope that the boys did well for the rest of the year.
What rehab have you been doing since your injury?
I started off going to the gym and going back to the hospital once a week for physio and they made a programme to push you on, giving you ideas of what stages you’re at.
I saw another physio up here, to walk again and things like that, and then just after Christmas, I started coming back into the club to see Becca, be around the lads again.
The main things I’ve been doing is cycling and gym work, trying to strengthen my muscles because you lose a lot of muscle mass straight away so I’ve just been trying to strengthen that again and everything else in your knee just to make sure that you’re right and ready when you come back to play.
Has your injury had an impact on you mentally?
It was tough. The manager and Lairdy were good, they said to me that I could do a lot of things from home.
There’s a gym just round the corner where I have a membership so I could get there and do rehab.
I wasn’t watching too much football so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been if I was in watching football all the time tearing my hair out.
It has been difficult but one of the worst things could be when we get back playing, hoping that the knee’s all okay and hoping I can get through next season.
It’s been hard because it’s something I haven’t experienced but I’ll be better for it once I get back.
Are you looking forward to getting back out on the pitch when football returns?
Definitely. When I first signed, I had a little bit of an injury with my other knee so I was just getting into a decent run of games, finding a little bit of fitness and form before this injury came along.
By the time we get back playing again, I would have played probably seven or eight games in 18 months so I haven’t really played a lot of football.
When we do get back, I’ll be champing at the bit to play.
What would your aims for the new season be?
I think everyone’s aim last season was to bounce straight back up and obviously with this pandemic, that got cut short.
The boys were hitting a bit of form, we’ve got a good group together and the main aim is for us to get promoted.
Personally, I want to be playing as high as I can, a lot of the lads in the squad are the same. I think the club’s aim is to go up and for me, I want to be getting a decent amount of games, finding form and hopefully chip in a few goals to help the lads out on the way to the promotion that everybody wants.
The Club would like to place on record its thanks to Chairman Paul Bliss for sponsoring Ben during the 2019-20 season.