Wes Fogden believes his latest injury battle was nothing compared with what he has already been through.
The Pompey midfielder continued his comeback as a substitute in the 1-1 draw at Accrington on Saturday, following his long-awaited return to first-team action in last week’s 1-0 defeat at Northampton.
That probably gave me a bit more perspective on a few things. This latest injury was nowhere near as seriousWes Fogden
It marked the end of a seven-month battle to regain his fitness, after Fogden required knee surgery last July.
But eight years ago – aged just 18 – the former Bournemouth ace was told he would never play football again.
A tumour on the fifth vertebrae of the then Brighton Academy player’s spine was discovered.
Thankfully, the non-cancerous growth was benign.
But it had caused enough damage for Fogden to require a bone graft and for him to be in a body cast for three months before he could even start his recovery.
As a result, when the 26-year-old landed awkwardly in pre-season training last summer and then required an operation to repair ligament damage, it helped him maintain a sense of perspective.
Perhaps most importantly, he was always confident that he would make his return.
‘It can be pretty tough when it happens and there were some horrible times along the way,’ said Fogden.
‘You just want to be out in the fresh air again playing football, rather than in the gym.
‘But I never really thought I wouldn’t get back playing again. It didn’t cross my mind.
‘To be honest, it’s not even the worst injury I’ve had.
‘I had the tumour in my back and needed an operation on that.
‘After something like that, you think you can come back from anything.
‘That probably gave me a bit more perspective on a few things. This latest injury was nowhere near as serious.’
After complaining of back pain, scans showed a tumour and a surgeon delivered the verdict that his football career might be over before it had really begun.
Fogden explained: ‘When I had that injury, the surgeon told me I probably wouldn’t play again and that was pretty tough to take.
‘They thought they would have to take spinal blocks out and put metal in there.
‘The size of the cyst or the tumour meant that I might have to have the metal put in to have some extra stability so I wouldn’t have the same flexibility.
‘But, thankfully, I had a great surgeon and fantastic support along the way.
‘I was only 18 when I went through that, so, mentally, that makes you a stronger person, I think.
‘This injury was tough but I knew I had come through worse and I think that definitely helped me this time.’
While someone who has been through two serious injuries might be forgiven for trying to protect themselves, Fogden remains philosophical.
He added: ‘Whether it’s in a match or in training, I don’t back out of tackles – I have never done that.
‘If there is a tackle to be won, I won’t think about my knee.
‘What will be, will be. I’ve just always taken things in my stride and I just try to stay as positive as I can.’