On the opening day of the season our 4-1 victory against Weston Super Mare was marred by a serious injury to Sam Collins.
We spoke to Sam as he begins the road back to recovery, and we started the conversation at the moment the injury occurred…
When you slid in and made that tackle during game, did you know immediately that the injury you suffered was serious?
To be fair I don’t think I slid in, I remember covering the centre half and coming across to try and block the striker as he was bearing down on the keeper. I don’t remember the impact or where it came from, whether it was the striker or the keeper, but unfortunately I was in the middle of a freak accident. As soon as I hit the floor I held my calf with both hands and from the middle of my shin down to my foot, my leg just flopped from side to side. From that moment I knew 100% it was broken. It was the first thing I said to the physio when he rushed over.
At that moment can you describe the pain going through your leg?
It’s weird really. If I had imagined breaking my leg before, I would of pictured myself in a lot more pain, so I’m not sure it it was shock or not, but it wasn’t painful…there was just a different sensation in my leg. It’s hard to explain. I have to say though Mike and Meady the physio’s did a fantastic job in keeping me calm and doing their job professionally.
How was the whole hospital experience, did the attendance of the management and club staff help you through…also the support of your family and friends?
Last time I was in hospital was when I was six and had my tonsils out, so it had been a while! The whole experience was helped by people coming to show their support, my mum and brother and his girlfriend who were at the game must have been with me for seven/eight hours on that first day, as we went through A & E, X-Rays, then onto the actual ward itself. I will be forever grateful to them as I’m sure they would have wanted to spend their Saturday any other way. Then later on that Saturday evening my Mrs came up after work, along with my other brother and his girlfriend. So the first few hours were crazy, and by the time everyone had gone it was midnight and I settled into the ward, and turned my phone on…and seeing all the get well messages and tweets that’s when it hit me, as to what had really happened.
That must have been a very intense day, how did you settle for the rest of time in the hospital?
Well over the next three/four days I had a few more visitors, and it was great for the manager to come down and see me. Obviously we’ve not known each other long and he didn’t have to come and see me, but it shows that football is just not Tuesday, Thursday evenings and Saturday’s for him. That is great for me, as it shows he’s a manager I want to play for and do well for. It’s a great piece of motivation for me to get back strong and play for a manager who had been there for me when I was at my lowest.
The club offered to fans the opportunity to make a donation to you, which you declined and asked that any money raised goes to the Indee Rose trust. That was an incredible thing for you to do. Does that gesture to you, show what Concord is all about?
For me this was all about how the club from top to bottom has treated me from showing me support in a variety of ways. The Chairman has been great with it all and has dealt with situations similar in recent years with Harry Elmes and Jamie Butler. I suppose it depends on how long I’m out for but I felt that from everyone pulling together to look after me, I wanted to give something back. I know the Indee Rose trust is close to the Chairman’s heart and also means a lot to many people involved with Concord, so that’s why I chose that charity.
You have a long recuperation period with plenty of rehab. Have you set yourself any goals/targets?
Nope nothing yet, although I have mentioned to the Mrs that I’m not going to cut my hair until I play a competitive football match again…she wasn’t happy!!!! On a serious note I’ve spoken to a number of people that have had or know someone who suffered the same injury and it sounds like the timescale is different for everyone. The Doctors and surgeons at the hospital knew I had broken the bone playing football, and that I wanted to play again…they all had a similar answer. It will take the bone two to three months to fully heal after the operation, and then after six months I should be playing again, so February/March 2016 would be the earliest, but that’s without any speed bumps or setbacks.
I suppose there is always a risk of putting too much pressure on your body though, as you try to push things?
Well I’ve spoken to some people, and it’s taken them twelve to eighteen months to recover, in fact some haven’t played at all, so I’m just taking it step-by-step. I will just have to see how it goes, I have a six week x-ray (dated from the operation) to see how the bone has healed, I will know a lot more then and hopefully hear some more good news and have more of an idea of timeline from there. For now it’s just being patient and resting as much as possible, eating right and gently try to increase movement back in the foot/ankle and knee.
After interviewing some of the players this season, they’ve said anything they achieve this season is for you. How proud does that make you to be part of this Concord Rangers team?
Well I sure hope they do well hahaha!!! Yes of course when you hear that, it shows how close-knit the group is and I’m sure it would be the case if anyone else was in my position. I’m always proud to be part of any team especially Concord in the National South and hopefully after rehab I’m still good enough and strong enough to be part of this team.
Would the ideal scenario for your return be scoring the winning goal on the opening day of next season?
That isn’t a bad shout, winning goal opening day of next season. Seriously it’s too far ahead to think of my ideal return date. I would love to make it back with a few games to go this season, but only time will tell on how I recover and how rehab goes.
All the best Sam, you have the club and fans best wishes behind you.
Cheers, thanks a lot that means a lot to me.
Sam Collins was speaking to Chris Clark