Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Another year, another knee operation.

November 2011, I had just run to work and was at my ground level
locker. As I squatted to put my stuff in there something in my right
knee went. I can't really remember the details of how it felt but it
went. I hobbled a bit and for a few weeks it was agony. I could barley
walk from standing until it loosened up and then it was ok. Extended
walking made it ache and sometimes it was so bad I could barley sleep.

Hospital physio's told me it was unlikely to be cartilage and most
likely muscular, stretching and strengthening was recommended. Cue a
million leg dips, hours doing hamstring stretches and hours in pain on
a foam roller.

There has been improvement but it has been slow and, a year on, my
knee still isn't right. I should point out at this point that a
private physio also told me it was unlikely to be cartilage as there
was no clicking, instability or other symptoms associated.

In September I went back to the hospital and saw a new physio, she
suggested that I push it. So basically do some heavy stuff on the knee
to see how it responded, could I push through it, whatever it was.
That meant stretching through where it started to hurt, pulling my
heel towards my backside through where the knee was tight and very
painful. I did that one night and was then woken through the night
every time I moved such was the pain. The other advice was to run on
it and go hard/further.

One Sunday morning I went out and ran 9 miles in just over an hour. No
pain whatsoever on the run, in fact I started to think that I had
cracked it. That lasted until about 10 minutes after getting home. I
made some breakfast and a coffee and sat down. When I went to get up I
could barely move. My right knee felt like it had concrete poured into

The hospital physio in early October decided to refer me to the
orthopaedic physio. I saw him a couple of weeks later in October. H
checked me out and asked me the same questions as the others and
deduced that I had probably damaged my cartilage towards the inside
rear of my knee joint.

So that was three physio's up to then (two NHS and one private)
telling me no cartilage damage and then one telling me that was
probable. 11 months elapsed.

So now I am waiting on an operation to have the damaged cartilage
trimmed. I have had that done before and it's not too bad an op. the
last time I had it I walked out of hospital the same day. Was back
driving in 3 days and on a bike after a month. The waiting list for
this type of op is only 4-6 weeks so I am hopeful of getting it done
before the end of the year.

I just wish the NHS had trusted me earlier so that this might have
been done already.

Football and rugby.....

Football and rugby.

The former always in the news for wrong reasons and the latter held up
as a beacon of respect and sportsmanship, normally.

Football may have its issues; on the field of play there's simulation,
influence and lack of respect generally. Not all players but we only
see the incidents don't we. In rugby, as fans of the egg shaped ball
will tell you, the players respect the referee's decision. I know
little about rugby but that would appear to be the case.

If a footballer dives it is analysed, reported, the player castigated
and the whole game called into question. Grass roots football is
examined and the scare mongering of what does this teach our children
bandied about.

As a manager of an u13's team I can tell you that I will never
encourage or tolerate my players diving.

Taking the football issues further the recent racism issues with
players and now a referee in the spotlight, there is an eagerness to
get the police and law enforcement involved. So players have to stand
in a court of law as opposed to or actually as well an organising body
panel or board.

The contrast to make here is that there was an incident recently in a
rugby match that Gloucester were playing where the Gloucester player
was caught punching another plate on the ground repeatedly. Absolutely
pounding him.

His defence was that the opposition. Layer had either gouged his eye
or attempted to. Whatever the provocation he received a, I think, 12
match ban. Whatever the length of ban it was lengthy. That was it. No
outside involvement or scrutiny.

Now imagine a scenario where a Premier League footballer, hits another
player properly. I mean takes a proper swing and puts the player down.
Maybe he then continues to punch him when he's on the ground. This is
a scenario remember. What would happen?

Would the game authorities be left to deal with it and impose an
extended ban? A heavy fine?

Not a chance, the police would be involved and there would most likely
be a criminal case of assault to answer.

So why not in rugby?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lance Armstrong

The news this week about Lance Armstrong has, for me as for many, been
actually quite upsetting.

Like many people I bought into the whole Armstrong legend, I have the
books, the cycling jersey, the yellow wristband, a livestrong gym
t-shirt, the whole thing. I wear a Giro helmet, as does my daughter
who when we bought it said she wanted the same as Lance Armstrong. The
reason I started riding a road bike was, essentially, because Lance
Armstrong did. He not only rode a bike, he did it better than anyone
else and in an era of drug abuse he was clean.

That's what he told the world.

I have had rows with friends where I have defended Armstrong, buying
into the "most tested athlete on the planet" narrative, and "never
having failed a drug test". I feel a fool now. To their credit they
haven't said I told you so - yet;)

So what do i hope for? I want Armstrong to front up. The death nail
for me was George Hincapie admitting drug use. If ever there was a guy
I thought had integrity and honesty it was him. With all around him
confessing surely he has to?

What I still find hardest to accept is that he survived cancer and
then used that incredible recovery to say why would I put anything
into my body? That's compelling and very difficult to argue against,
it was just a convenient lie.

I hope he pays for this enormous fraud and this example is used to
educate and inform other riders coming through.

Luca used to have the poster on his wall where LA was saying "they ask
me what am I on? I'm on my bike for 6 hours a day busting my ass.
Share you on?"