‘He’s probably the last person I wanted to see’ - Delaney recalls Keane’s hospital visit after freak injury at Town
Former Ipswich Town defender Damien Delaney has revealed the unexpected gift then Blues’ boss Roy Keane brought him while he was recovering in hospital after suffering a freak injury on the training pitch.
Delaney ended up with a blood clot in his leg, an injury which could have ended his career and even cost him the limb, after colliding with Grant Leadbitter in pre-season training back in 2010.
He had to have two surgeries as a result, and told the Second Captains Podcast how Keane came to see him in hospital after the first operation.
“The surgeon said, ‘Listen, there’s still so much swelling that we couldn’t close it up’,” said Delaney, who was 28 at the time of the injury.
“I’ve got this zipper belt scar from my hip to my knee. I had 100 staples put in at the backend of it.
“I’m lying in hospital on all these plastic sheets. Roy comes to see me - he’s probably the last person I wanted to come in. He sits down and I’m looking at him going, ‘Ah, Jesus’ but he was fine - he can be very personable and amiable.
“He gave me a book. It was (Irish sports pundit) George Hook’s autobiography! I didn’t even know who George Hook was. I had to Google him!
“He stayed for a period of time. It was the first time, I’d say, that we’d had a chat. He handed me the book and he was gone.
“I’d say he was probably walking out of the house and had a spare book lying on the bookshelf, picked it up and went ‘I’d better bring him something’.”
Delaney, who never actually read the book, returned to the field later that year after a period of intense rehab.
Of the injury itself, he said: “It was a ball in the air; I was coming out from centre-back and he was coming back from central midfield.
“I didn’t see him and he didn’t see me. His knee just clattered right into my thigh. It was right at the end of training and there was only a couple of minutes left. I hobbled through the last minutes of the training session.
“I went into the physio room and did the usual thing, thinking I had a dead leg. I went and got a bag of ice, a roll of clingfilm and went to sit in the gym. After a couple of minutes, it didn’t feel like a dead leg. It was getting worse and worse.
“Eventually, I ended up getting sick and vomiting into a bin in the gym. I took off the ice pack and saw the amount of swelling that was there. I kept empty retching and vomiting which is not a great sign when you’re injured. It got to the point where the physio put me in his car and took me straight to A&E. They got surgeons to come in.
“I was called compartment syndrome. I got a blood clot and these little compartments fill up with blood. It’s a pretty serious thing. Christian Ziege had it when he was at Spurs and it finished him off. The amount of swelling that goes in there, it cuts off the circulation to your leg. If it’s left unchecked for a number of hours, it is career threatening. If you left it for long enough, you could lose your leg.”
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