Rotherham Titans coach Lee Blackett is thrilled to be able to call upon Josh Thomas-Brown’s services again following a five-month lay-off.
The second row forward has missed a big chunk of the season due to a neck injury.
“It’s like having a new playing coming in,” said Blackett. “Josh did really well when he played his first full game the other Saturday against London Scottish. He made a significant contribution.”
Thomas-Brown, aged 25, joined Rotherham from London Scottish last spring, but when he was badly injured against Worcester in a pre-season game in August, his career as a professional rugby player might well have been over.
“One surgeon I saw told me I wouldn’t play again, so I sought a second opinion from a consultant in London; he told me I wouldn’t need to retire,” said Thomas-Brown, who played 60 games for London Scottish and a few earlier for Bristol.
So began a long battle to restore his health. Six weeks of treatment by a physio in Manchester followed and then Thomas-Brown was advised to see a specialist neck physio, Don Gatherer, well known for his work with England and the British and Irish Lions, and also with the GB team at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
“I went to see Don at his treatment centre in Aylesbury and he was fantastic,” said Thomas-Brown. “Don designed a special programme for me which meant putting my neck in a harness. It worked and now I’m relieved to be playing again.
“I reckon I’ve spent £2,000 of my own money which is annoying, but it’s great to be back and with Rotherham going well. Everything’s on the up.”