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I am Playing Soccer

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Exercise and Rehab
Well, now I have been playing consistently for 4 weeks. I play about 2 - 3 times a week. Today I played for 2 hours, running at full speed, going shoulder to shoulder with opponents. I even headed the ball a few times.

The remarkable thing is that this physical activity makes me feel much, much better. I still get episodes of tightness in my head muscles, but playing soccer always makes it loosen and feel better. I almost have no pain for a day or two afterward.

I never thought I would get to this point after being debilitated by my surgery 2.5 years ago. Man was it agony even typing on a key board. When I did try to play sports, it was like my head was being burned and stabbed with ice picks at the same time.

I will take what I can get and enjoy every moment I can in playing the sports I dearly love. I lost 10 lbs and am starting once again to develop tone and muscle. In fact, nobody would think that I have a cervical fusion with titanium in my neck. Players yell at me now when I don't use my head for a high ball.


I really now identify with the professional athletes who counseled and inspired me to come back. I only followed their lead. They showed me the way. They made me believe in myself...and to fight through the pain.

You can find me playing pickup games in San Francisco Saturday mornings or sometimes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Today was a special Wednesday pick up game. I indulged!


I thank God for getting here. Maybe my friend, who is a surgeon, might be right in predicting that this will be a 50 year solution, my fusion? I'll do my best to make his prediction come true.

Cheers, Mate


  • Mate, its great to see another positive story here. I know that you have been through the wringer with your surgery and its been a long road to recovery since then but good things come to those prepared to wait (or so the saying goes!).

    Anyway keep it up! (yep, I would be dodging the headers too, if I was you).

    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • Woo! So pleased for you!

    I was thinking about going for a kick-about in the park too this weekend, now that I'm feeling better.

    I might just do that after reading this :)

    Go Mate!
  • O happy days, even I am pleased for you, my golfing running rock-climbing badminton, sailing and canoeing, lip smacking activities are over, but boy am I pleased for you, see what you can do.

    My present mode of torture is cycling, I cannot walk when I arrive but the view is fantastic.


  • I'm inspired! Thank you for posting. I've gone from a relative fit middle-age person to a unfit, out of shape unhealthy person in just 6 months. I'm ashamed of myself. I'm gonna try a bit harder today to do better.--maybe if I can just try to run for 1 more minute...Mazy
  • We'll see how far I can take this, but I feel strong and as good as I have been these past few years. This rivals the pre-surgical state of affairs, so all in all it is a positive development.

    None of my doctors can explain it. They never knew why I developed elevated pain after the surgery. I refused pain killers and simply fought through pain to experience dramatically reduced cycles of pain.

    Interestingly enough, the only thing that sets off my symptoms, which are controllable by resting, is the lifting of heavy objects. I can run and jump, but lifting something heavy seems to put stress on the whole spine and fire it up.

    Go figure.

    Cheers, Mate
  • Mazy

    Don’t be too hard on yourself you have and had accumulative and preferential roles and once these have been addressed you can turn your effort and attention to your overall fitness. This is testament to the hard work you have already contributed to your condition in developing an opportunity for overall improvement, you are here now and you next goals will be adequately achieved with the dedicated tenacity enthusiasm and vigour you have needed on your journey.

    Some of this is about confidence and challenging yourself, we are understandably protective of our situation and it take some physical effort and collective strategies to continue, slow and steady is the motto and pacing is the key, our PM residential assisted us with this development and most failure is in the concept of trying too hard initially we become frustrated and the pain increases as a consequence and we are forced to give up.

    I now ride my bike and this has taken considerable skill effort and sheer determination, my goal was to ride a local ascent and here I am here one year later having achieved my goal and moving forward. It is trial and error and finding what works for you whatever that is, you have and will achieve because you want to and in managing your pain better you have proof of sufficient capability to do as you wish, within reason.

  • Way to go!!! What an inspiration you are!

    Enjoy it all, you deserve it :)
  • I am so happy for you , I really am. It is amazing that you are doing so well and that you are feeling as good as you are. Keep up the great work and keep posting these positive threads....it is wonderful to read them and share in the positive stories of fellow members and friends... :)
  • I am going to take pictures and post them here...once I lose 10 more pounds. I want to look good for all the ladies...except my wife.


    Seriously, I so badly want to get back to my fighting weight. I've started to build serious muscle and tone. Of course, the extra weight now looks worse, but we'll melt that soon enough. Pictures proverbially speak many words, so I want to really show people that this can be overcome.

    Cheers, Mate

  • I have 5 more pounds to go. I don't want to look too much like a clown when I post some pictures.


    Yesterday I played again for 2 1/2 hours. I was able to run nearly as fast as I have right before surgery. My stamina was finally back to where it should be. It almost felt like gliding.

    Turning is a bit of an issue. This is especially the case when defending. I cannot twist so easily with speed from a static position when I want to chase an opponent who makes a hard right or left. I have to turn my whole body, which means losing a second. My torso is straight most of the time when I play, but this also puts less stress on my spine.

    Also, when I go to bed on days that I play for this length of time, my head muscles are sore and tight. It's not really painful. But it feels as if there is a wet blanket lying on my head...and on my eyes. It's bothersome.

    I also get a sharp, cutting pain in a singular location in my lower back. This isn't that bad, more akin to normal back pain. But, before surgery, it was just achy. Ever since surgery, it gets sharp and cutting. Funny, I only feel it days after playing. It totally goes away while playing and lasts through the next day or two.

    But, again, progress is steady.

    Cheers, Mate
  • I played in a soccer game when I visited my in-laws in Southern California this weekend. I played 30 minutes before I asked to be substituted in the second half. I actually played in a competitive, 30 years of age and over league game.

    2 years ago I really thought I would have trouble opening doors for the rest of my life. I really never thought I would again be on a pitch wearing a uniform.

    May the surprises keep coming...for all of you as well!

    God bless.

    Cheers, Mate
  • I continue to play regularly, but I have yet to lose that last 5 pounds. Still waiting.


    I have also found myself increasingly using my head on air balls. I don't overdo it, but it is getting more and more comfortable.

    Troy Dayak is a former San Jose Earthquakes player in the MLS. He played 6 seasons after getting the exact same C5-C6 fusion that I did. Obviously, he heavily used his head. I had the pleasure of meeting him at a game honoring his achievements, where I actually compared our operations and asked for advice. This was sometime in 2006.

    It is because of him that I gathered the courage to start heading the ball again. He seems to have suffered no ill effects, doing this at the professional level with his fusion. But I do wonder if there is enough stress in this to damage the areas adjacent to the fusion?

    Am I taking too much risk here?

    Cheers, Mate
  • sounds great Mate. Just be sure to take it easy and don't do anything stupid. ;)
  • That is most sage and subtle advice. You truly have a a depth of insight and wisdom that eludes the common person.


    Cheers, Mate
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