The despairing moment when Hurley thought it was all over

February 20th, 2018 9:00 AM

By Kieran McCarthy

Castlehaven's Brian Hurley in action for Cork.

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Cork ace feared his football career was finished after scare during second comeback

Cork ace feared his football career was finished after scare during second comeback


CASTLEHAVEN footballer Brian Hurley has opened up about the moment he feared his football career was over.

The Cork forward is on his way back from his second serious leg injury after rupturing his hamstring for the second time last March, tearing the muscle in a league game for Castlehaven against Ballingeary.

The previous summer (2016) he had ripped the same hamstring off the bone during a Cork training session and such is the seriousness of this injury, Hurley has openly admitted that this is his last chance to save his career.

He underwent an operation under trauma surgeon Professor Fares Haddad in London last April.

The 25-year-old is working hard to revive his football career – and in a documentary called Scars Episode 2: Brian Hurley by Pundit Arena, the Haven clubman talks about the moment in this comeback last May, just four weeks after his surgery, that he feared he would never play football again.

‘The second time I did it, I was told this was my last chance,’ Hurley said.

‘This time I didn’t even take the brace off for a shower. I did everything I was told do.

‘I didn’t want to take any chance whatsoever.

‘One Thursday I was up in my room, trying to do a few butt squeezes to activate the glutes, which I was told to do. I went to bed – but woke up at five in the morning and I had serious pain. My leg was throbbing.

‘It was giving me shocks. I was saying, ‘What’s going on here?’ I didn’t know what was happening, the brace was on me and I thought I had slept on it bad.

‘We got a scan two days after and we posted it over to the surgeon in the UK.’

The following week, Hurley was brought to Dublin by his employers, Abco Kovex, to keep him involved during his rehab. He stayed in a hotel.

At work early that week, he received an email that shook him to the core.

‘I got an email from the surgeon, saying that it looked like a rupture in the scan,’ he said.

‘I read it on my phone. I dropped my phone on the floor. My hands started shaking.

‘It was the scariest message I had received, ever, especially when I was told before that this was my last chance.

‘I was still in a brace with crutches. I could drive because work gave me an automatic car. I left work, drove to the hotel. I was crying on the way back.

‘I remember the email said that it doesn’t look good, it looks ruptured. More than likely then it would need an operation, which would have meant my career is gone.

‘At the time it was like someone died in my family.

‘I went into the hotel room, I pulled the curtains, it was five o’clock, my phone was hopping, I turned it off, I couldn’t talk to anyone. I was crying again. It was the worst place I have ever been.

‘I eventually turned on my phone, I had around 24 missed calls and messages, it was all from the medical team and Mark (Collins). I was 20 minutes on the phone to Mark, I was in a bad way, I thought it was all over. Mark was brilliant on the phone, he’s a good guy, he’s my best friend, we had a good chat.

‘My head was gone. I live for football and I thought it was all gone for me. It was very scary.’

Hurley didn’t sleep that night, a visit from a cousin in Kilkenny who has suffered his own injury problems (three cruciates) did help, but for a few days, he still thought his career was over.

‘As the week went on the pain kinda went,’ he said.

Results showed that Hurley had burst stitches where the hamstring had been sown four weeks earlier during the operation in London.

‘I popped a few stitches doing the bum squeezes. It showed a gap in the scan that frightened the life out of me – and everyone else around me. It turned out to be a small enough thing that would naturally graft back together,’ he said.

‘One second I thought my whole career was over, that it was gone. Since then I have been positive in every way. It’s probably the lowest I ever was in my career.’

Hurley flew to London a couple of days later for a dynamic ultrasound that confirmed no serious damage was done, a massive relief, and since that initial worry, he’s adopted a positive approach as his comeback gathers pace.

Eleven months after the latest injury, he hopes, if this comeback is successful, to return to the football field this year.

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