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Ziege back on his feet

Posted on 14 January 2003  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Christian Ziege would like to thank the fans and well-wishers who sent him messages of support in the wake of his horror injury that required emergency surgery.

The German wing-back was rushed to hospital on Boxing Day after his left leg swelled up to double the size of his right - what he initially suspected was simply a dead leg.

After a week in hospital and a period of time resting at home, Christian has now been able to begin his rehabilitation at Spurs Lodge and was quick to offer his gratitude for all the messages he has received.

"To everybody who sent me a message wishing me well I have to say thank you," he said. "It was really nice to hear from so many people.

"Again, thank you to everybody who sent me their regards."

"I'm quite pleased that I can now come to the training ground, which is obviously better than staying in the house or hospital. Seeing the lads and having a chat makes it much easier."

Unlike the recovery process for the majority of football injuries, Christian explained that, for the moment, his rehab work involves learning to use the muscles in his leg again.

"More or less, it is learning to use my muscles again which have completely gone. It is quite frustrating if you are sitting down and can't even lift your leg like you would do normally.

"I have to learn, I have to work hard and get over the pain a lot of times, but it is good at the end of the day if you can lift your leg.

"Small work, hard work, but I'm doing it."

His Boxing Day plight has been well documented but, Christian admits, it was on the insistence of his wife, Pia, that he finally called out the club doctor for attention.

"I went home and it was strange. I was sitting in the chair, I still had my suit on and I looked at my leg and it was double the size of my right leg.

"I wasn't really in great pain at that time - just the sort of dead leg pain. I had some dinner and afterwards the pain came and I couldn't stand it. So my wife said 'just call the doctor', but I thought being Boxing Day you can't do that - everybody is having a nice evening.

"She said 'no, call him' and he came around and decided we should go to the hospital and see a specialist. Thank you to Mr Williams who came in and decided straight away to operate.

"The pain at that stage was just horrible," he added, before confirming that the swift action taken - a ten inch cut into his thigh - prevented his difficulties from becoming much greater than a football injury.

"The problem, like the doctor said, was not just football-wise. Inside the leg the pressure was so high and there was no space for the muscle to go. It could have affected the circulation of the blood in the body, which means that the heart wouldn't have got enough oxygen or whatever.

"They had to act, it was not just a football injury, but I did not understand at that time really because I was just in pain. I just wanted to have a cut there and everything be fine because it was so painful."

Christian reflected that it took him a little while to take in the extent of the surgery he underwent. He says he has now got his head around it and is particularly grateful to the hospital staff for their care and attention.

"In the first two days I didn't really realise anything. I got a lot of medicine and I couldn't really think about what happened. It took me three or four days to appreciate what happened.

"I had a lot of time to clear my head in the hospital, obviously. The people there, I have to say, were fantastic and helped me a lot. Even though it was not a nice time, they made it really good and easy for me.

By Richard Hubbard