Basel ahead Ricky van Wolfswinkel may by no means have predicted the lengthy street to restoration he would face after sustaining a extreme concussion in a Champions League qualifying match final August.
Observe-up examinations revealed the Netherlands worldwide, 31, had a mind aneurysm – a balloon-like bulge in a blood vessel, which will be deadly ought to it burst.
Six months on from being identified, the previous Norwich Metropolis striker made his return to soccer within the Swiss league in February. However he solely managed 9 minutes of motion earlier than the coronavirus pandemic halted the competitors – forcing him to take a seat out an extra 5 months.
In his first look following the resumption of the league – 343 days on from his concussion in opposition to LASK on 7 August – Van Wolfswinkel scored in opposition to FC Zurich on 14 July to carry an finish to a testing 11 months.
“It was scary,” Van Wolfswinkel informed BBC World Service. “You don’t count on one thing like this. Usually with accidents you realize the time-frame and you’re employed laborious every single day to make progress.
“You don’t have any concept what it’s or the hazard it brings. It was a tricky couple of days in hospital.”
The aneurysm was a pre-existing situation and was not attributable to the concussion sustained in opposition to LASK. However it could not have been found in any other case.
The striker, who joined Basel from Dutch group Vitesse in 2017, mentioned he felt again to regular after leaving hospital and his predominant frustration in rehab got here from feeling prepared however not having the ability to assist his team-mates.
“The primary query we all the time ask as footballers is ‘how lengthy will it take earlier than I can play?’ – then it hits you,” he mentioned.
“I could not play for six months. I could not practice, I could not do something. The primary day [out of hospital], I purchased flowers for my spouse to express regret for the subsequent few months as a result of I knew I might be grumpy.
“There have been video games the place I arrived and after 20 minutes I mentioned to my spouse ‘I’ve to go, I can’t watch it’.”
He made one look as an 81st-minute substitute in opposition to Zurich following his return to coaching, earlier than the league was postponed on 2 March.
Regardless of ready so lengthy to return, the striker was capable of keep perspective by a time he describes as “boring” due to an absence of soccer, “completely satisfied” due to the time spent with household and “fortunate” that he “made it by”.
Reflecting on his February comeback, Van Wolfswinkel mentioned: “I could not care much less how the sport went, it was only a assertion for me to indicate I used to be again.”
On ready one other 5 months to play once more, he added: “It was horrible. This time it was more durable, I believe, since you settle for you can’t play due to the physician’s selections – then once you’re match and prepared, there is a lockdown.
“I all the time saved saying there are worse issues in life. Folks have been dying due to coronavirus, so why ought to I complain that I’ve an extended restoration with my aneurysm?”
The additional wait made scoring his first aim in nearly a yr all of the sweeter.