Going under the knife goes with the territory

Chris Whitehead playing for Exeter Chiefs before his operation.

My latest operation was one of countless I have had during my career as a rugby player.

It goes with the territory and most players, unless they are very lucky, will have gone under the knife a few times by the time they hang up their boots.

Admittedly, this was quite a big one in the grand scheme of things.

I had a problem with a disc in my neck and that had trapped a nerve.

Going under for operations doesn’t bother me anymore. In fact, and I know this makes me sound like a weirdo, I actually like the feeling of going under.

What I am not too enamoured by is my mum turning up to see how I am doing after it’s all done and dusted.

I am 26 now so, by and large, I don’t generally need much help or support when I go through these things.

Anyway, I am a real mess when I come round from operations.

I was just trying to get myself back in the world of living after my neck operation when who should be there at the bedside - but my mum!

Oh, well, at least she was able to know that I was ok. She’s a worrier about her lad, bless her.

Since then, the battle back to fitness has been going well. I am not a fan of the rehab department – nice as they are at the Chiefs – and so I am trying to reduce my expected recovery from 14 weeks down to 11 or so.

You can feel a bit isolated recovering from lengthy injuries. You have your own plan of where to reach by a certain date and, while you are doing your bits on your own, the rest of squad are doing different things at different times.

Exeter are very good at keeping you in loop with what is going on around the club, though, and from my point of view, that is important because I am not the best watcher.


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