The threat of serious injury may well be lurking in the back of most professional athletes minds, perhaps even more so for those who play contact sports. Leeds Rhinos 23 year old forward Luke Burgess saw those fears become reality on Friday night, as he collided with Castleford’s Jonathan Walker in a one on one tackle, which resulted in a broken jaw for the Rhinos player.
It is an obviously painful injury, but the hurt is perhaps all the more severe for Luke given that he will now miss the Challenge Cup final later this month – the first time Leeds have got to the final since 2005. It would have been his first final appearance too, having only broken into the Leeds first team in 2008. Rhinos Head Coach Brian McClennan said “We are all devastated for Luke. It was a shoulder charge. That’s the outcome when two young blokes collide at such speed.”
Luke himself seems to have remained in high spirits, and has even let fans in on his suffering through his Twitter account. In fact, he has used the social networking site to give onlookers unparalleled access to his situation; not only posting his thoughts and feelings, but also photographs of the injury and even the x-ray showing the two clean breaks in his jaw.
Always an avid ‘tweeter’, Luke first posted a photograph of the injury from inside the ambulance, and later remarked from his hospital bed “The pain isn’t too bad if I stay still …think the morphine is kicking in now though!”
On Saturday, before his operation he thanked everyone for their well wishes, saying “…over 300 mentions and from fans of all different clubs; that’s why our sport is one of the best in the world.” And after the operation remarked that “The op went well; the surgeon was a legend and he said he was really happy with how my jaw came back together.”
Having had three titanium plates and 12 screws fitted to help the jaw heal, Luke is restricted to six weeks without solid food. He was discharged from hospital on Sunday and was much relieved to be back home in his own bed.
I’m sure everyone who has heard about Luke’s injury will join me in wishing him all the best for a speedy recovery. We hope to see you back on a rugby pitch soon Luke.
You can keep up to date with Luke’s recovery by following him on twitter: http://twitter.com/LukeBurgess87