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Marco van Ginkel on ‘wrong surgery’, 1-in-200 infection, and his never-ending recovery

Never say die

AZ Alkmaar v PSV - Dutch Eredivisie Photo by Edwin van Zandvoort/Soccrates/Getty Images

In the early 2010s, Marco van Ginkel was consistently named on those “young players to watch” lists that football magazines and websites love to make, even if, more often that not, the expectations that those lists generate go unfulfilled. That’s not always the fault of the player of course, which has been the case with Van Ginkel as well.

The now 27-year-old midfielder’s career has consisted of a rather unfortunate series of injuries, surgeries, setbacks, and redos. And apparently one of those was the “wrong” surgery, even??

“It hasn’t always been easy. Of course not. I don’t think it’s been healthy what I’ve been through either. After the wrong surgery, you can call everyone names, but what’s the point? It happened. I had to accept it.

“The infection after one of my surgeries was bad luck. I’ve been told that one in 200 people gets something like this. Some people then take antibiotics for two weeks and it’s over. With me, the situation affected the whole cruciate ligament.”

Luckily, Van Ginkel had a support structure in place from his family and friends, which helped him through the toughest of times. We often think about recovering from injuries as a purely physical exercise, but the mental aspect of these ordeals shouldn’t be overlooked, especially in extreme cases like Marco’s.

“Mentally and physically it does something to you, but I didn’t need a mental coach for that. My girlfriend, parents, in-laws and friends have always been there for me. They’re great. That’s enough for me.”

After more than two years out of football, Van Ginkel will still need some time to return to match fitness. His recovery is taking place in the Netherlands, his home country, back with PSV for what is now his third loan stint at the Eredivisie club.

“[My recovery is] really moving in the right direction. I feel good and have to keep the right balance. Three or four times a week I join the group now and I’m almost there. The most important thing is to take the final steps in a responsible way in order to be able to cash in on the entire recovery process.

“The training makes it clear how it all will go. At some point, I might play in an eleven against eleven. And then more. I am happy to be here and feel good. The staff and players may have largely changed, but otherwise almost everything is the same.”

-Marco van Ginkel; source: Eindhovens Dagblad via Sport Witness

Seeing Van Ginkel back on the pitch would certainly be a wonderful development. He may not ever reach the heights once expected of him, but we could all use a feel-good story in 2020.

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