Josh Dawkin has overcome some big obstacles in his two-year comeback from a double leg break, but the biggest could be yet to come.
The former Norwich City youngster and Wales U19 international, suffered a fractured tibia and fibula playing for St Ives Town at Chippenham on the final day of the 2016-17 season.
An awful challenge not only set the one-time Cambridge United loanee’s career back by two years but also meant the self-employed maggot farmer couldn’t work for seven months.
Almost two years on, the now 27-year-old made his long-awaited comeback last month for Soham Town Rangers, who he has joined on loan from St Ives for the rest of the season.
He has managed an hour or so of Soham’s last four matches, and has so far come through unscathed, but is waiting with a mixture of dread and excitement his first big hit.
“I’ve not had a big tackle yet,” he said. “There have been some big steps and that will be a huge one. I’ve trying to put myself about a bit, to get it over with.
“I will always have people trying to tackle me, so there’s no point trying to avoid it. My first game back was a bit nerve-racking an anxious though, there was a build up and I was just hoping to get through it.
“It was a real relief as at one point I didn’t think I would play again. I knew it would take ages, but it got to the stage where I didn’t think I would get back after nearly two years out.
“It took such a long time and my leg had lost so much muscle. I was on crutches for ages and was walking with a limp. It was such a big mountain to climb, and I didn’t think I had it in me at times.
“But I also thought I would regret it if I didn’t try to get back and I found myself missing the game too. I loved my football before, and I’d forgotten how good it feels winning a game.”
Dawkin admits he tries not to dwell too much on the tackle and whether or not it was deliberate, and is instead focusing on helping Soham avoid relegation before returning to St Ives.
“I can’t remember the tackle and I don’t think about it too much,” he added. “ I’d never been injured before, but the bloke cut me in half. There was a 45-minute wait for the ambulance, and then they had to send another.
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