Richard Wood column: Downhearted, detached, lonely ... life as a pro when you’re injured

Nothing beats the feeling of being out on the grass
Nothing beats the feeling of being out on the grass
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The past few weeks have been very frustrating.

Injuries are part and parcel of football and will inevitably happen.

The hardest part is dealing with the segregation of yourself from the rest of the squad.

It’s a lonely place when you’re sat on an exercise bike at the training ground watching your teammates out on the grass playing football.

You feel downhearted, detached.

These feelings hit me first thing every morning. The injured players report to the training ground well before the squad are due in. This has meant there has been no car school and regular Costa stop-off with Danny Ward. I enjoy my coffee and chats with him in the car (especially when he’s buying) and it’s strange driving in on my own.

After receiving treatment first thing, it’s then to the gym for rehabilitation and, as the squad arrive for training, you don’t really interact. Just a quick ‘Hello’. That’s it.

My mornings for the last three weeks have involved exercises in the gym while training outside goes on. There are two windows that look out on to the pitch and I often find myself gazing out transfixed on the session, wishing I was out there.

Footballers like routine. When it changes, it disrupts your mind-set.

It’s very annoying and dissatisfying being injured but having these feelings makes me determined to get fit and back playing as soon as possible.

In the past, when I’ve had a longer-term injury I’ve been given time off. You get away from the training ground and from football and let your body recover both physically and mentally.

Rehab is a repetitive, long and laborious process. If your head’s not in the right place, then it could be a long road to recovery.

A few years ago, I took my family away on holiday for a long weekend after sustaining an injury that would keep me out of action for a while.

I was obviously devastated about the injury but that few days away allowed me to clear my head and get in a positive frame of mind. I returned to the club refreshed and ready to tackle my rehab head on. I believe football is hugely psychological and if you have a positive mind-set then you’re well on your way to achieving great things.

That excitement of playing, being part of a team and enjoying your football, is an incredible feeling. When you are out injured, it all disappears. To not put on your football boots for training at 10:30am every morning is so infuriating.

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