Springbok star Handre Pollard has revealed that serious complications during shoulder surgery almost resulted in him having his arm amputated.
The complication, a sudden and potentially life-threatening infection, occurred when fly-half decided to have surgery on his shoulder for an injury he sustained in Japan while playing for NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes.
At the time, Pollard was also recovering from another long-term injury to his knee. The situation became so serious that doctors told Pollard that amputation may have to be performed on his arm.
“There was a possibility, they told me that early on, but luckily we identified it as early as possible,” the 22-year-old shared in an interview with EWN Sport.
Pollard spent five extra weeks in hospital recovering from the infection. He says the ordeal will not threaten his career, stating: “Fortunately I’ve still got all my limbs and can play some rugby.”
Pollard seems to be taking his misfortune in his stride and remains optimistic of returning to rugby early next year, with the aim of starting the 2017 Super 18 season with the Bulls.
“I was lucky that I’m out for the rest of the year with my knee so whatever happened with the shoulder didn’t delay anything too much. It’s not nice, it put me back by a bit and it’s going to make a recovery a couple of months longer, but by the end of the day if everything goes well it should be all fine.”
Pollard began his career at the top level with the Blue Bulls as a 19-year-old. He reached international level in June 2014 and has 16 caps for the Springboks, with nine wins including one against the All Blacks when he scored two tries.
He was a key contributor to South Africa’s resurgence from their shock loss to Japan at the 2015 Rugby World Cup to reaching the semi-final against the All Blacks. He has scored 133 points in his short career so far and remains a player of immense potential.
Kaal Kaczmarek, Pundit Arena