2010 was a difficult year for soccer player Mark Molesley, of the AFC Bournemouth team in England. As his teammates progressed towards the top of the rankings in their NPower League One, the London-born midfielder had to cheer from the stands as he recovered from an injury that has sidelined him since October 2009.
It was back then that he started having pain in his foot, which — according to Molesley — “started off feeling like nothing other than a muscle pull but has developed into a nightmare. I was running in training one day and I felt a sensation like my foot had ‘locked’.”
He played the next game drugged up with painkillers but afterwards couldn’t put weight on the foot at all. When the pain remained a few weeks later, the club physiotherapist ordered an x-ray, which revealed a number of stress fractures in his foot. He underwent an injection under general anesthetic into the joint around his navicular bone but it didn’t help.
Even after six weeks in an “air boot” and talonavicular joint cleansing surgery, the problem persisted and he eventually had the injured bone removed and a screw inserted in its place. “For the third time, I was on crutches and in the air boot and didn’t come out of that until mid-July,” he recounted. “It was a case of learning to walk properly again after that and strengthening my foot, my leg, etc., post surgery.”
As with most professional athletes, the most difficult part of Molesley’s injury was uncertainty over when, or even if he would return to action. “The physiological side of things is definitely the hardest thing,” he admitted. “Luckily I’ve got a fantastic family around me though, who have been great through all of this. When I first got injured, it coincided with the birth of my baby girl, which helped boost my spirits and get everything in perspective too. I’ve learnt a lot about myself during the injury layoff too for sure. My teammates and my manager have been fantastic through this tough time for me. I obviously haven’t been seeing my teammates much, but when I have they always have nice things to say. Eddie Howe (the AFC Bournemouth Manager) has been especially good, checking on my progress and not putting any pressure on me in terms of setting a comeback date. He had some bad injuries during his career, so I think he appreciates what I’m going through. He also knows me well as an individual and how to treat me.”
Over the summer, Molesley’s club physiotherapist Steve Hard recommended that he visit the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic’s (AECC) multi-purpose Clinic in Boscombe, England. “They have a specialist sports injuries rehabilitation centre,” Molesley explained. “I go there twice a week and gain from one-on-one attention while I’m there, which is great. My chiropractor Andrew Vitiello (Clinical Tutor) and intern student Jon Arnar Magnusson have helped me do the basics, like getting back on bike to cycle, building my strength and regaining my balance. The progress I’ve made with them is phenomenal.
“I have a history of back problems, which the AECC has also helped to address. As a result of surgery, walking on crutches, etc., my back had been feeling stiff and in pain. I had chiropractic treatment at the AECC to address this and it’s worked wonders for me.
He added: “The clinical staff at the AECC are very hands on and also very methodical. Everything they do is for a reason and they are always keeping a close eye on my progress. They’ve covered every possible aspect to help my recovery, from looking at kicking technique to re-building muscles, even sending me to their in-house physiologist to deal with the issues that surround a lengthy spell on the sidelines. I’m indebted to the work that everyone at the AECC has done for me and I’d like to say a massive thanks to them.”
So, when does Molesley expect to be playing again? “I’m not putting a date on my return,” he replied. “I’m just taking everything a week at a time. I’m feeling good and hopefully my injury nightmare will be behind me sooner rather than later. It’s been hard for me watching on over the last year, seeing the club doing so well without me. I’m obviously delighted they’ve done as well as they have, but of course there’s a part of me that hurts because I haven’t been involved. Watching them certainly spurs you on to want to get back out there though. I know I have to play as well as ever to regain my place in the side and that will be a massive challenge in itself when I’m fit.”
In November, Molesley showed his gratitude by being the official starter of the AECC’s annual 10K Charity Road Race, the AECC DASH BACK.