tough break
'There is light at the end of the tunnel' - Ruby Walsh reaches out to injured Dundalk captain
‘It’s always nice to talk to someone who’s been in a similar position.’

EARLIER THIS MONTH, Dundalk captain Stephen O’Donnell suffered a nasty broken leg.

Stephen O'Donnell leaves the field injured James Crombie / INPHO Stephen O'Donnell broke his leg in action against Waterford. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Obviously, it was a blow to the entire club but it came as a huge personal setback to the 32-year-old, who has been haunted by injuries over the past while, including another long spell on the sidelines with a fractured tibia.

His mood was surely boosted slightly when he received a call from champion jockey Ruby Walsh, a man well versed to share his advice on recovery from leg breaks.

He’s within touching distance of his own full return after a bad run of injuries over the past few months, his most recent fall at Cheltenham aggravating a fractured leg which left him sidelined for Punchestown.

“A friend of mine asked me to give him a ring,” Walsh explains to Paddy Power News of his kind act to take time out and get in touch with O’Donnell.

“He said he was a racing fan and that he’d suffered a pretty bad leg break, and look I know I’ve had plenty of hassle with leg breaks but I don’t have to run. Obviously for a footballer it’s even more disappointing, especially with the way the League of Ireland is now and the fact that the campaign is in full flow.

“But I had a good chat with Stephen. I guess it’s always nice to talk to someone who’s been in a similar position and can explain to you that there is light at the end of the tunnel. But a broken leg is such a common thing with jockeys, it’s not a common thing in football.”

Walsh added that sportspeople in general would be more insecure about injuries earlier in their career, but with time, experience and age, one becomes more sure:

Ruby Walsh Morgan Treacy / INPHO Walsh is currently on the mend himself. Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

“With age, and experience you know that you’re going to get back, you’re not worried about ‘will I, won’t I’. If you follow the rehab and give it enough time, you will get back.

“You don’t have that anxious worry that you might have had as a young lad. I know it can be done. Going through rehab and physio I’ve met lots of different sports stars in different places.

“We all experience the same thing. It’s not so much the physical pain, it’s the mental pain of what you’re missing out on and every sportsperson suffers the same thing.”

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