18 July 2019
He walked out onto the hallowed Wembley turf when he helped Birmingham City win the 1995 Football League Trophy (known as the Auto Windscreens Shields Trophy). But all 51-year-old Ricky Otto is looking forward to now is a ‘kick-about’ with the local five-a-side league as he recovers from his second hip replacement operation in six years.
Ricky retired from professional football in 2000 and is now a Pastor at ARC (A Radical Church) Birmingham, based in Lozells.
His journey from prison inmate to professional footballer is already well known so it wasn’t too surprising that when he had to hang up his boots, due to injury, that he went on to become a Probation Service Officer in the West Midlands and West Mercia region.
From there he developed his own business creating bespoke programmes for offender’s and those on the edge of offending.
In the meantime Ricky also earned a Degree in Theology and became a Pastor specialising in working with former young offenders in a pastoral capacity.
Ricky explains: “To be honest, I have been too busy to even think about football for a long time now but for some reason I’m itching to get out there and have a bit of a game.
“Nothing serious and certainly no heavy tackles but just a chance to knock a ball around, get the adrenalin pumping, and maybe even find the back of the net a couple of times.”
“It all went so well that as soon as I realised I needed a second replacement I had no thoughts about seeing anyone other than Mr Lawrence – even though he is a Villa fan,” he jokingly adds.
He continues: “By this time I was heavily involved in my pastoral work so I had my sights set on an early return to work. Just days after leaving hospital I was able to do bits of work on the email and telephone but, within eight weeks, I was up and about with virtually no pain whatsoever.
“I’ve stuck to my physiotherapy routine and done plenty of exercise so everything is going well. Now I’ve set myself a ‘target’ of late July when I hope to get out and play some ‘light duty’ football.”
Mr Lawrence said that Ricky’s target was ‘very achievable’ as long as he gets the okay from his physio first.
“I wouldn’t suggest full contact football but for someone who has kept themselves in good shape like Ricky, then a friendly kick-about shouldn’t be a problem," the Orthopaedic Surgeon explained.
“He would certainly be able to take part in non-contact sports such as tennis or golf with very little trouble – in fact, joint replacement patients are actually encouraged to exercise regularly in order to keep the muscles surrounding their joints in good condition,” he added.
As for Ricky, he said: “It may seem young to have two hip replacements at just over 50 years old but when the pain in your hip is so bad you can hardly sleep, never mind do exercise, then that is the time to consider surgery.
“I would advise anyone in a similar situation to the one I found myself in to visit their GP and get some expert advice on what action they should take. I think they will find a new hip does wonders to improve their quality of life.”
Q: How quickly could I have a consultation and how much would it cost?
A: It depends on the availability of the consultant you wanted to see, but we pride ourselves on getting you fast access to diagnosis and you can often get a consultation within 24/48 hours. Initial consultation fees vary by consultant, but around £175 is a reasonable guide.
Q: If I need surgery, how quickly could I have it?
A: We have no waiting lists at Spire Parkway, but again, it depends on the availability of the consultant you wanted, but as a guide, and subject to your pre-operation assessment, between one and two weeks.
Q: I don’t have health insurance, can I self-pay?