Felixstowe & Walton striker returns after 19 months of tears and pain
- Credit: Phil G
There have been lots of tears shed since Felixstowe & Walton forward Danny Smy suffered what he considers to be the worst injury a footballer can receive.
The 32-year-old slumped to the floor in agony in August 2013 after suffering an innocuous cruciate ligament injury against Thurrock in the FA Cup.
A eye-watering 19 months later, Smy finally made an emotional return for the Seasiders in last weekend’s 1-0 victory over FC Clacton at the Goldstar Ground.
He was given a big ovation from both sides as he made a late appearance from the bench and was then overwhelmed with messages on social media.
“I am getting a bit emotional just thinking about it now,” said Smy, who has also played for Leiston and Needham Market.
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“An injury like that hits you like a brick, being out of football for so long, so to get back out there was fantastic. I know a few people from Clacton and I got a big round of applause.
“Then when I got home there were Twitter and Facebook messages and I think I shed a tear for every one.”
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So many career-threatening injuries are caused by late or nasty tackles but that wasn’t the case for Smy – not that it made things any easier to deal with.
“I went to receive a sideways pass, I took a bit of a sidestep and I heard a bit of a crack,” Smy recalls vividly.
“It was a monstrous noise and I immediately thought I had broken my leg.
“My leg looked fine though and I sat up and tried to walk and I couldn’t.
“Fortunately we had a couple of physios, Scott Egerton and Daniel Kett, while their bench also had a physio too and my leg was quickly iced up.
“I was put on the bed in the treatment room and I admit I bawled my eyes out.
“I think it was the shock, plus there were thoughts going through my head that I did not have that many years left as a footballer. There was also my family to consider.
“You think so many crazy things and everything comes to a head. I am fortunate to have been able to play again as some professionals don’t even get that opportunity.
“It is the worst injury I could have suffered.
“If you break a bone, that can heal in a couple of months but I had to go through such a long rehabilitation process. I still do, it’s a daily occurrence, making sure I keep fit so I don’t break down again.
“I only had three months off work at the Royal Mail but I was probably a bit of a burden on my family at first. I couldn’t have got through this without their help and the help of my friends and the physios though.”
Smy’s team travel to Stanway Rovers today, before facing Norwich United in the League Cup semi-final, at the Goldstar Ground, on Tuesday.
He would like to play a part in the Seasiders’ run-in but is realistic of what is in front of him between now and the end of the season.
“I would like to get involved as much as I can but I am not going to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes and say I am 100% fit,” he admitted.
“I know I am not going to get straight back in the first team and I would like to get 10, 15 or 20 minutes here or there.
“I would maybe like to get half-an-hour in the reserves where, no disrespect, the intensity isn’t as fierce.
“That will help me ease in between now and the end of the season and then I can look forward to pre-season.”