THE 2016 FOOTBALLER of the Year Lee Keegan looks set to miss most of next season’s National League campaign after recent hip surgery, but the Mayo defender has scotched ‘a false rumour’ that he has been diagnosed with a serious illness.
Keegan underwent two separate surgical procedures on each of his hips to correct ‘wear and tear’ damage earlier this month, and is likely to be out of action for between four and five months as he rehabilitates from those operations.
However, he said he felt the need to ‘clarify the situation’ after his family had been ‘upset’ by recent rumours in GAA circles that the 28 year-old had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a condition that affects the central nervous system.
“I’m feeling great, body wise and health wise I’m brilliant, and the operations on my hips went really well,” explained the four-time All Star winner.
“I definitely can confirm that I don’t have MS, which is a very serious condition and something that really shouldn’t be discussed in the manner that it has been.
“Just in terms of my family being asked about my health, I felt it was important to clarify the situation. I’m 100% fine and healthy, and thankfully have no illness like that.
“I was disappointed to see my family upset by the rumours,” he added.
“And it’s not nice for people who do have MS, for my name to be thrown around in conversations like that, with false rumours.
“I was disappointed that a false story like that went around so quick, and I just wanted people to know that it wasn’t true.”
Keegan’s two keyhole surgeries on his right and left hips come after a season where he was also struck down by cellulitis in his foot before Mayo’s All-Ireland SFC quarter-final against Roscommon.
This latest injury issue means that the Westport clubman is to miss the majority of Mayo’s National League matches next spring as the recovery period is expected to rule him out of action for at least the first four rounds.
“From chatting to the consultant, it’s quite common now in the GAA,” he admitted.
“You’re looking at around four or five months out, depending on the recovery, but I’m lucky that I’ve got a great medical team around me with Mayo.
“So if it all goes well, I’ll be looking to get back a bit sooner.
“I hate missing games, I love playing for Mayo and putting on the jersey.”
Mayo begin their Division 1 league campaign away to Monaghan in Clones on Sunday, January 28.
This year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists will face Galway in the Connacht SFC on Sunday, May 13 in Castlebar.
The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):