Worksop Town footballer Sam Liversidge could be in line for a return to action before the end of the season, thanks to state-of-the-art rehabilitation techniques.
The centre-half fell awkwardly in the first seconds of the second game of the season, and badly damaged his knee, tearing his posterior cruciate ligament.
Liversidge, 26, feared he would be out for the entire season, and surgery was on the cards.
He said: “I was devastated to be out of action so early on and I feared that I would miss the whole season.”
But the former Sheffield Wednesday, Buxton and Sheffield FC defender has stepped up his recovery, thanks to a specially engineered knee brace and an accelerated rehabilitation programme at Perform Leeds, a state-of-the-art sports medicine centre at Spire Leeds Hospital.
The brace has meant surgery was not necessary, shortening his recover time, and doctors expect he will be able to return to play before the end of the season.
After suffering the injury against Clipstone, in what was a clumsy but not malicious challenge, Liversdge was referred to Dr Jonathan Power, sports and exercise medicine specialist at Perform Leeds and Stephen Guy, consultant orthopaedic and specialist knee sports surgeon at Spire Leeds Hospital.
Following an MRI, Mr. Guy recommended a specially engineered Jack PCL knee brace as part of his rehabilitation programme, which included light jogging on an anti-gravity treadmill, under the care of the physio team at Perform Leeds.
The knee brace was fitted in September.
Mr. Guy said, “Sam suffered a significant injury playing football. People who have injured their PCL often struggle to play sports at the same high standard because they lose the ability to rapidly accelerate and decelerate - clearly no good for a footballer.”
Perform Leeds staff are trained in the use of the brace which was ordered specially to fit the requirements and is designed to give support to the PCL, supporting the shin bone by pushing the tibia forwards.
According to Mr. Guy, the Jack PCL brace has brought about first-class results, avoiding the need for surgery.
“Sam is doing exceptionally well using this brace along with a carefully planned, evidence based and skillfully monitored rehabilitation regime,” he said.
“This case highlights that with timely referral to a specialist patients can reduce and indeed avoid the need for major surgery by using cutting edge brace technology. Sam will be able to return to the pitch soon and continue his successful football career.”
The Tigers player is delighted to have avoided going under the knife.
He said: “The treatment at Perform Leeds has helped me dramatically. There’s no doubt in my mind that if I had not been referred to Spire I would have ended up having surgery and possibly a very different outcome.
“I’m looking forward to easing back into training and getting back on the pitch when I get the go ahead.”