It’s ostensibly just a promotional video for WowHydrate (it’s got electrolytes! it’s what plants crave!), but it’s well worth a watch to see and hear Ruben Loftus-Cheek talk a bit about his recovery process as he continues to work his way back from the severe Achilles rupture he suffered back in May. He also just casually drops in there the part about a “few setbacks”, which isn’t very nice, but it sounds like things are going okay now? RLC had been expected to be back before the end of the calendar year, but the last time Lampard was asked about it, he didn’t offer a concrete prognosis.
And to be sure, it’s been a grueling process already. Loftus-Cheek’s injury was one of the worst possible for any athlete, and recovery from it is not a quick exercise. It’s days, weeks, months of consistent, relentless, patient effort. You have to start with basics, like walking, or even lifting a heel. It’s remarkable how much muscle the body loses after such major trauma and surgery — anyone who’s gone through an Achilles or an ACL or any other similar major soft tissue injury can surely relate, even if for most of us, it’s not our actual livelihood that’s at risk. As frustrating as things are for me, 14 weeks into my own ACL rehab and not being able to play or run or even move without being extra careful, I can only imagine what it might be like for a professional athlete. No amount of mental strength or BCAAs can make the endless hours spent waiting, training, recovering disappear.
“I’ve had to learn to walk again. As soon as I came out of my cast, I could barely lift my heel off the ground in a sitting position.
“When it happened I turned and pushed off and I heard a clap, it was really loud and I thought someone had smashed me from behind. The referee gave a free kick, he blew the whistle so he must have been close to me, but watching the tape back nobody was near me.
”To lift my leg up took maximum effort. With a big injury it’s really hard, you don’t see a difference every day, you don’t wake up and think it’s a lot better every morning, it’s over a period of time. It’s more exciting the closer I get to making my comeback, the more I keep pushing. I will be there soon.”
Fortunately, it sounds like Ruben’s got the proper support system (both from the team and his family, not to mention his low-calorie protein water sponsor), and despite a “few” setbacks — A FEW SETBACKS!?!? — he remains highly confident that not only will he be back playing at the same level he was before, the best level of his career, but he will push on to even greater heights.
“When you have a good day you get excited, getting that much closer to getting back on the pitch again playing football, getting back in the gym and pushing it, so we will see how it goes.
“I’ve actually had a few setbacks that have put me behind which has been quite frustrating to be honest.
“Before I got injured I was playing my best football. I’ve missed feeling tired from running, from hard work, that feeling of being in a game again. I’ve only just got pain free but for sure I’m going to come back stronger, sharper and do whatever I can to be in better shape.”
So say we all.