St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt has again outlined in graphic detail the physical and mental toll that is often required for him to take the field each week.
In a column penned in espn.com.au Riewoldt detailed what was required for him to overcome swelling in his troublesome left knee and return to the field for the Round 14 win over Geelong.
He wrote in detail about having large syringes of fluid drained from his knee.
Having sustained a knee-on-knee collision in the opening minute of the Round 12 match against Adelaide, Riewoldt wrote that “my day probably should have finished there but we had other injuries, were down on rotations and I could fill a position on the ground, so I played on”.
His knee “really blew up and filled with fluid. The swelling in the joint made it impossible for my quad to function and I was unable to bend or straighten my leg. I was stuck in a position of real discomfort.”
He managed to play out the match, finishing with 13 disposals and a goal, but faced a struggle to back up in the following week’s match against Carlton.
Riewoldt explained that his week included MRI scans, ice baths and having the fluid removed from his knee, and posted photographs to show the blue/red fluid removed from his knee.
“I know it’s not nice to look at but the feeling after that 140mls of fluid came out of the joint was one of instant relief,” he wrote.
“Injuries are a part of an athlete’s lot. They are part of the overall package, but footballers are obviously still humans and prone to the same phobias and anxieties as the rest of the population; I still get a bit queasy, and flinch at pain-killing injections,” he wrote.
“Also, I can’t help but get extremely nervous in those final moments before I’ve been wheeled into an operating theatre for surgery. All up, I think I’ve been put under the knife 15 or so times – mostly on my left knee, but also my hamstring tendon, collar bone and nose.”
Nick Riewoldt’s column can be found at espn.com.au