Everton fan Paul O’Connell had to hide his ‘true blue’ inclinations when he visited Liverpool FC recently to get help for his nagging groin injury.
Armed with five MRI scans, the Munster and 2009 British & Irish Lions skipper went to see the new Head of Sports Medicine and Sports Science at Anfield, Dr Peter Bruckner.
An acknowledged world leader in sports medicine, Bruckner was the latest consultant O’Connell and his club has turned to to try to find a solution to his long-standing injury problem.
“It’s been tough getting on top of the injury, a problem that has been compounded by what appears to be an infection in the area,” O’Connell explained in his Blog on irishugby.ie.
“I was treated with an anti-inflammatory injection, had all my bloods but there was an underlying problem that couldn’t be detected. Since I have started taking the antibiotics, there has been a significant improvement, but not sufficient for me to play in the Biarritz match.
“I went to see a specialist, Peter Bruckner, who was recently announced as the new head of sports medicine and sports science at the Liverpool FC training facility in West Derby, Liverpool, complete with my five MRI scans.
“He assured me that the Munster medical team had done everything that he would have to find out the cause of the problem and that my care had been exemplary. Hopefully now I am on the mend for good – I just want to get back playing.”
While the injury has forced him to miss vital matches for Munster, it has also allowed him to spend more time at home with his wife Emily at a v ital time.
“The arrival of baby Patrick (Paddy) O’Connell last Thursday week provided a massive silver lining to the injury cloud that has hovered over me for what seems like ages now,” admitted O’Connell.
“Everyone is doing well and his arrival probably stopped me brooding about the injury as much as I would have without such a wonderful distraction. We’ve had loads of visitors to the house, it’s been a great time for Emily and I in that regard.”
But even though he has been ruled out of the Heineken Cup semi-final with Biarritz Olympique in San Sebastian on Sunday, the Munster skipper and talisman will be travelling with the team as they attempt to reach a fifth final.
“I’ll be travelling to San Sebastian with Munster and have been working on the line-outs as I normally would. But I have to confess that come Sunday I’ll find the experience of being in the stands very difficult.
“I am the world’s worst when it comes to watching games, jumping round the place and getting quite agitated.”
Paul’s blog is updated regularly on www.bethedifference.ie.
You can follow Paul on twitter – www.twitter.com/Paul_OConnell.