Stephen Ferris keeping the faith as he battles ankle injury
Ireland flanker admits there have been times when he felt like calling it a day
Stephen Ferris: “It seems for me like 10 years because I’ve had so many stumbling blocks. But if I can get another six weeks of keeping this going and getting the miles clocked up, hopefully in a few months I’ll be back out there playing.”
After almost 13 months out through injury, having had more than his fair share of them throughout his career, Stephen Ferris has admitted there are days when he felt like throwing in the towel and admitting defeat in his bid to get back on the pitch.
But the Ulster and Ireland backrow, who has gone under the surgeon’s knife three times since suffering an ankle injury late last year, still believes he fight his way back to fitness and play professional rugby again.
The 35-time capped flanker has not played since suffering the latest in a long line of injuries against Edinburgh last November. That put paid to a potentially lucrative move to Japan but Ulster stood by Ferris during the summer, awarding him a short term deal in order to help him recover.
And the 28-year-old is determined to repay that faith, despite suffering many low ebbs on the long and lonely road of rehabilitation.
“There have times when I’ve walked into the house and told my girlfriend Laura that I just can’t do it anymore,” Ferris told BBC Sport in a revealing interview.
“That I can’t get up and lift weights at eight o’clock in the morning and two o’clock in the afternoon and then go home and sit on my own for a couple of hours until she comes home.
“That it’s wrecking my head and getting me down and that I’m feeling a bit depressed.”
But Ferris can now see light at the end of the tunnel, and is convinced a comeback is not too far away.
“I am confident I will play for Ulster again. There is now no pain in the ankle for the first time in 12 months.
“Over the first six months of my injury, every day seemed like a bad day but over this second six months, most days have been good. The ankle itself is moving well and I’ve no pain.
“It’s great to be able to run and swim and go cycling without any pain and to go out for a few beers with my friends on a Saturday night without my ankle blowing up.
“Waking up every morning and your ankle is not the size of a balloon. Every week or two you feel an improvement.
“It seems for me like 10 years because I’ve had so many stumbling blocks. But if I can get another six weeks of keeping this going and getting the miles clocked up, hopefully in a few months I’ll be back out there playing.
“It’s about taking it week to week. The physios and doctors say I can’t put a specific time on it as it’s how the ankle reacts to the training loads. At the minute, it’s reacting well.
“It would be very easy for me to give up and say I’ve had a good career and been to a couple of World Cups and played on a Lions tour and won a Grand Slam (2009).
“But for me, there’s another Grand Slam and another Lions tour and another 100 caps for Ulster.”