Two days after Christmas while still being in Austria, I tore my patellar tendon. The patellar tendon attaches the bottom of the kneecap (patella) to the top of the shinbone. A few hours later I had surgery at the AKH, Vienna’s largest hospital.
The day after, I sent a message to the president of the Roosters, the board members as well as the Head Coach explaining my situation, that I may have to be on crutches during practise for the next little bit. I reached out to the team doctor as well as team physician in order to set up all treatment and rehabilitation sessions for a fast return to normality.
Two weeks after the surgery my cast was taken off in order to remove the stitches. The knee was double in size and the scar half open. The infection led to an operation the next day. After my second surgery while also being allergic to the antibiotics I spent almost a month in the hospital. By mid-February I was cleared and allowed to return to Helsinki.
Following my return I attended one practise with the Roosters and four practises with the Juniors before the pandemic shut down all activities on and off the field. In March the bacteria that caused the infection returned (or actually never left). I had surgery in April in Helsinki to remove the wire that served as a patella tendon replacement and to clean the wound. I was unable to even lead the online workouts. During my stitches removal in early May the wound was still open and the infection still noticeable. This may lead to a skin or muscle graft and another surgery by June.
After my injury, during my time in Vienna, during my time in the hospital, during my sick leave in Helsinki and during a global pandemic… I have been supported, helped, kept on the team and never left alone. Players, coaches, parents and even former members of this organization have volunteered to do the work I am supposed to do. And we know that in amateur sports people do not get paid for their time but rather pay to be part of an organization and invest their time in something they truly believe in.
If you wonder why the Roosters are one of Europe’s oldest and most successful organizations, look to what happens outside the football field. I am grateful and thankful. And I will always be a Rooster.