Van Wolfswinkel reflects on recovery from brain aneurysm

PUBLISHED: 17:00 02 August 2020

Ricky Van Wolfswinkel has spoken of his struggles after he suffered a brain aneurysm. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Ricky Van Wolfswinkel has spoken of his struggles after he suffered a brain aneurysm. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Former Norwich City striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel has been reflecting on a brain aneurysm that posed a serious threat to his life.

The Dutch forward was forced to undergo surgery to treat the condition, a balloon-like bulge in a blood vessel, which can be fatal should it burst.

Van Wolfswinkel had to be replaced during a Europa League match with LASK on 7 August after suffering concussion. Scans later showed that the striker had an aneurysm - which was pre-existing.

“It was scary,” Van Wolfswinkel told BBC World Service. “You don’t expect something like this. Normally with injuries you know the time frame and you work hard every day to make progress.

“You have no idea what it is or the danger it brings. It was a tough couple of days in hospital.

Van Wolfswinkel scored for FC Basel upon his return last month, 11 months after his diagnosis. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA ImagesVan Wolfswinkel scored for FC Basel upon his return last month, 11 months after his diagnosis. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Images

“The first question we always ask as footballers is ‘how long will it take before I can play?’ – Then it hits you,” he said.

“I couldn’t play for six months. I couldn’t train, I couldn’t do anything. The first day [out of hospital], I bought flowers for my wife to say sorry for the next few months because I knew I would be grumpy.

“There were games where I arrived and after 20 minutes I said to my wife ‘I have to go, I cannot watch it’.”

Van Wolfswinkel has now made a full recovery from the condition and returned to football for FC Basel in February - only to see football suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On July 14, the striker scored against FC Zurich to conclude a frustrating and testing year.

Reflecting on his February comeback, van Wolfswinkel said: “I couldn’t care less how the game went, it was just a statement for me to show I was back.

“It was horrible. This time it was harder, I think, because you accept you cannot play because of the doctor’s decisions - then when you’re fit and ready, there’s a lockdown.

“I always kept saying there are worse things in life. People were dying because of coronavirus, so why should I complain that I have a longer recovery with my aneurysm?”

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