Daniel Cowling Case Study
My Knee Surgery…
Treated by: Jon Smith
Procedure: ACL reconstruction and lateral meniscus repair
“I’ve already recommended him to quite a few of the players here. I’d recommend him to anyone.”
Danny Cowling has been a popular addition to the Batley Bulldogs since joining the club from Doncaster in 2016. 31 appearances and nine tries in his first two seasons earned the centre a contract extension in 2017, but the 2018 season didn’t go quite the way he planned.
“We were playing the Sheffield Eagles at the back end of June,” he explains. “I stepped off my right knee and it just buckled under me. You hear this kind of pop and crunch and then it’s agony. I just collapsed in a heap.
“You get this onrush of pain and adrenaline that takes away all your thought processes,” he continues, “but once you’re sat with the ice on the knee the realisation kicks in. I didn’t even test it out afterwards ‘cause I knew straight way what had happened.”
Danny was no stranger to ACL injury. He’d ruptured his left ACL a few years back. Repeating the experience in his right knee was a combination of familiarity and frustration.
“Because of my previous experience you just think ‘not again!’. A lot of players will say they wouldn’t wish an ACL on their worst enemy. It’s kind of heart-breaking and I suppose you could sit there and wallow in it, but that’s not changing anything is it? So you just say ‘well, that’s the season done – I’ll just have to focus on next season’ and you get on with working your way back.”
“It’s great to have someone like ( Jon ) on your side”
Before the process of recovery could begin, Danny would need reconstructive surgery. Fortunately, he knew just the knee surgeon to call.
“One of the physios at Batley has a good relationship with Jon, so they put me in touch with him when I damaged my lateral meniscus a while back. He did a great job with that so it was a no brainer to go back to him this time.”
Danny’s first ACL injury was treated by a different knee surgeon, and whilst all his treatments have been a success, Danny believes that working with Jon has been an especially positive experience.
“When you’re going through something like this, that’s potentially career threatening, it’s great to have someone like him on your side. He’s a completely down to earth bloke and at his consultations he’s really personable.
“He explains to you what he’ll be doing so you feel more at ease. He showed me the MRI results and I could see that the ACL had gone – there was nothing left. But there was a good surface for a graft and Jon was positive about using one of my hamstrings as a scaffold for a new ligament.”
The way back
Jon operated on Danny around 10 weeks ago. After six weeks, Danny saw Jon again to check everything was proceeding as it should.
“Six weeks is quite a big milestone as it’s the point at which you should be getting back to most day-to-day activities,” he explains. “After that I’ll see Jon again at the six month stage. And because Jon knows I’m under the physios with the club he’s happy to leave me in their hands to keep building me up.
“It’s off-season now so we’re building up to getting back to training and I’ve been maintaining my fitness at the local gym. I haven’t run yet but I should be starting that in about three weeks. Then, as you get stronger in one area it’s just about drip feeding the additional elements – straight line running, then changes of direction, then contact.
“I’m hoping to be back around March time. That’s just after the season starts so I’ll miss all the pre-season friendlies and the first part of the season, but it’s a long season and I don’t want to set myself back by rushing anything.”
“You feel at ease with a great knee surgeon”
For any elite sports person, seeing a knee surgeon is inevitably a bittersweet feeling. You’d rather not see them at all, but if you have to, you want it to be someone you feel you can relate to.
“You feel at ease with a great knee surgeon. You want to feel you can speak to them about anything and I know that if ever there’s a problem I can speak to Jon. I’ve already recommended him to quite a few of the players here and a couple of the lads have had their knees done by him. I’d recommend him to anyone.”
To speak to Jon Smith about your knee injury, please contact us.