Tom Parsons has opened up on being told he’d never be able to run again following a horrific knee injury in 2018.
Such was the extent of the damage that the Mayo midfielder suffered, many believed the Charlestown Sarsfields man would never play for the county again.
Parsons eventually recovered, making a second half substitute appearance against Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final before returning to the starting fifteen at the beginning of 2020.
However, speaking on Off The Ball this week, the midfielder described what it was like hearing people in the hospital whisper about his injury while also recounting the moment he was told that his “new reality” would mean never being able to run again.
“I’ll never forget being in Galway University Hospital and the CT Scan… there was a risk that my motor nerve had gone. My foot had [gone] black and I didn’t say this at the time because I didn’t want the headlines of that piece,” Parsons told Off The Ball.
“I’ll never forget actually being told by the vascular specialist that ‘you will get function of your leg’.
“But I’ll never forget being in my hospital bed in Galway University Hospital… you’re in a ward but you have the sheets covering your bed. People were whispering saying ‘that’s Tom Parsons in there, did you see his injury, it was horrific!’
“I could hear people whispering about my injury and in that then, this doctor came in… he picked up the chart… and I was in pretty good form at the time because I was just told my motor nerve was intact.
“I just said ‘Doc, when will I be able to run again, when will I be able to play?’ I wasn’t really expecting an answer but I’ll never forget what he said. He just put the chart down and he said ‘My friend, my friend, this is a car crash injury. You will never be able to run again, this is your reality.’”
Despite all the talk, Parsons made a successful return a little over a year later and thus far has not looked back. The Charlestown Sarsfields man described the sense of gratitude after finding out how lucky he had been.
“Nobody said this was beyond the realms of possibilities but there was no doubt about it, I think publicly people had definitely said that was the end. I’ll never forget the medical opinion in the hospital that day though,” he said.
“I’ll tell you what, the sense of gratitude you get when a specialist comes in and says ‘you’re a lucky man, you’ll get full function of your leg.’
“I didn’t focus on the end goal of coming back to play, I just had mini-goals. One of my coaches, Enda King, said ‘Tom, just every Friday write down the question are you stronger this Friday than you were last Friday?’ If that answer is yes every week then eventually you will get to the goal you want to get to.”