Last year in the peak of my football career, I was struck down with an untreatable foot condition. I had to retire from the game that I’ve spent my whole life playing, which I am still really upset about. However, if I had kept playing I would have done so much damage to my feet that there was the possibility that I would never be able to walk properly again. So as you can imagine, I had to make the tough decision to retire from the game that I love.
Ever since my retirement I have been spending my time split between volunteering at sports clubs and doing foot care treatments. Cheltenham is where I’ve chosen to volunteer based on its proximity to the podiatrist, so that on any given day I can easily travel between the two.
I always wear a brave face at the sports clubs and podiatrist. Excluding my close family, no one knows just how devastated I am not to be playing footy. Instead I tell people that I love and miss the game, but I’m also loving teaching the next generation of sports stars and looking after my body. Of course this is a lie, but no one really cares how people feel beyond what they present as truth.
Devastating, my achilles tendinitis will never get better. Even after a year of foot care treatments and looking after myself, it was too little too late. Sometimes my wife asks me if I would have rather never to have played footy if it meant I wouldn’t have to suffer through this, but my answer is an overwhelming no.
I do not regret my decision to play football at a professional level. It bought me fame, money and popularity. It gave me brothers and people who I will be lifelong friends with. I’ve been absolutely ripped off in terms of the length of my career, seeing as I had so many more years left in me, but I don’t regret the years I played.