28 November 2018
When James Kennedy damaged his knee while playing rugby he was hoping that ‘rest and rehab’ would be enough to get him back in action.
Despite missing the rest of the season, James, who played for Stratford, was ready for action the following year – only for the injury to flare-up and end his season after just five games.
More rest and rehab followed but within weeks of starting the 2015 season he was forced to hang up the jersey as knee pain made playing impossible.
Now, five years after the tackle that caused all the problems, James, who lives in Stratford, is back playing golf as well as cycling on a regular basis following surgery at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull, near Birmingham West Midlands.
The main problem for James was that he had badly torn his posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) – something more unusual and difficult to treat that the more common anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) damage often suffered by sportsmen.
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Mr Jamie Arbuthnot, who carried out the operation, explained: “The PCL is at the back of the knee, connecting the thighbone to the shinbone and is usually very sturdy – it takes very forceful impact to cause damage such as that suffered by James.
“In many cases the injury can be treated with prompt bracing. However, when surgery is required the procedure is technically demanding. Even specialist knee surgeons only carry out five to 10 cases per year. The operation usually requires a rebuild involving a graft from another part of the body – in this case we used the hamstring tendon from James’ knee.
“It can take several months for the graft to heal to the bone but, in most cases, it can result in almost full use of the previously damaged knee providing the patient undertakes the recommended course of physiotherapy.”
Six months on from the operation James is building up his muscles and hoping that next year might see him booking his first snowboarding holiday in ages.
“Everything is going well, some exercises still give me a bit of pain but it is all a matter of time and hard work. The thought of a snowboarding holiday sometime next year keeps my mind on the positives.
“I haven’t written off a return to the rugby field but, in all honesty, it isn’t on my ‘to do’ list at the moment,” he joked.
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