Recovery a physical and mental journey
BREAKING a leg is an often used metaphor for good luck when someone is going to perform in public.
But for Byron Bay Football Club's Ronan Krarup, it's a reminder life does not always go to the plan.
In June 2017, the then 17-year-old Rams player broke his leg after an opposing player's hefty sliding tackle in a Northern New South Wales Football Federation Australia Cup preliminary round.
A wet day on a synthetic surface, the match was intensely fast and physical from the first whistle when the Rams took on Maitland FC at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility in Newcastle.
Krarup was hospitalised, requiring immediate surgery to re-attach ligaments and insert a pin in his ankle.
Since then he's spent months enduring rehabilitation and is hoping soon to step up his exercise regime and get back on the pitch.
Now aged 18, Krarup recalled he was shocked when he found he could not rise after the tackle.
"I knew it was serious when I tried to stand up and could not get up off the ground,” he said.
"I was in hospital for six days, and spent four and half months on crutches.”
For a young man whose world revolved around playing the beautiful game, it was a huge physical, mental and emotional shock.
But showing the reliance he has displayed on the field, Krarup still plans on making football his career.
"Playing at the highest level I can has always been a driving force for me,” he said.
"I did not think I would go through such a time, 2017 was the first time in 13 years I had never played in a grand final.”
Krarup said he's been focussing on getting through the injury and often the physical side of recovery is less complicated than the psychological.
"There were definitely stages when I was down on myself,” he said.
"But I've had amazing support from family, friends the football community, wonderful support from FFNC's Steve Mackney.”
Krarup said he was surprised and thrilled to get a call from former Lismore midfielder, league player and SBS sport commentator, Craig Foster.
"I've had some phone calls from Craig, the first when I was in hospital,” he said.
"Craig's been there in a physical and mental sense and helped me realise I will get back out there.”
He said Foster's insights from his own sporting experience has been inspiring.
"Craig said when you come out the other side you understand yourself a lot more,” he said.
"I'll have an attitude above what I had before, and when I get back on the field a huge part of me will be grateful for being back in the game. My short-term goal is to be able to run again and get back on the field.”
Mackney said the entire football community organisation is behind Krarup's recovery.
"Although the horrendous injury Ronan suffered last year has put some challenging obstacles in front of him, I am confident that he will navigate a path over time to a full recovery,” he said.
"He is an exceptional talent, but more critically, he has a strength of character that will ensure that he responds to this set-back. With the support of his family and the guidance of professional medical and sports people, his welfare is in the right hands.”