ASHINGTON forward Gareth Bainbridge has vowed to return after dislocating his shoulder last week in the Colliers’ away clash against Billingham Town.
Whilst it is generally thought to be an unlikely occurrence for lightening to strike twice in the same place – luck has certainly deserted the 27-year-old, who has suffered the same injury to the same shoulder which was put out of joint last season.
Bainbridge, a support worker in Ryhope who works with adults suffering from learning disabilities, had only been on the field a mere 13 minutes as a second half substitute during the encounter on Teesside when he fell awkwardly after a challenge.
“I was taken off my feet then my full weight came down on one shoulder as I landed head first,” he said.
“I knew straight away. It was not an instant pain but I felt it ‘pop’ and I was in agony after about ten seconds.
“I tried to put my shoulder back in but it seized up.”
Bainbridge was taken to Wansbeck General Hospital 16 months ago after falling on his shoulder during Ashington’s FA Cup replay with Shildon at Woodhorn Lane.
He added: “The pain was worse this time although the injury is not as bad.
“I was in a sling for the first three weeks and out for ten weeks the last time, but on this occasion there is no sling and they want me to start physio in a fortnight because the injury healed so well the first time and they want to go down the surgical routes.
“I’m gutted and heartbroken because it is so upsetting and I’m still devastated now.
“I realise that whilst the other lads are preparing for matches, I cannot get involved, and for a footballer that’s an awful feeling.”
Bainbridge was taken to North Tees Hospital and was adamant in wanting to thank all those who cared for his well being.
“Our physio Leanne Symonds handled things very well and was excellent,” he said.
“Brian and Mark, the two paramedics who came to the scene, were brilliant in the changing room when I was in real agony, and the officials at Billingham Town – one of whom called for the ambulance – were spot on.
“Also the staff at the hospital were really caring and did a professional job.”
On hearing the news, Gareth’s girlfriend Lisa motored up from Leeds to the hospital whilst Ashington defender Matty Grieve also stayed with the striker and his partner until 2am in the morning when he was discharged.
“I received over 75 individual messages on Twitter showing overwhelming support for me,” he said.
“And the players and fans from Ashington were brilliant along with lads from different clubs in sending text messages.”
However, Bainbridge is unrelenting in his desire to return to the game.
“I’m definitely wanting to return and wouldn’t dream of giving up,” he said.
“However, I will listen to what the doctors and physiotherapists tell me and will only start on the comeback road when it’s right.”