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Saturday, January 12, 2002

Cooksey - I could have died

Hereford United goalkeeper Scott Cooksey has returned to football after eight months out in which his long-term health was threatened.

The ex-Shrewsbury stopper played for the reserves on Wednesday after months out with a wrist injury. His problems started in February last season when he was given an injection in his wrist to help him through to the end of the season but he eventually ended up in hospital for three weeks. "It was serious and I could have died," admitted Cooksey to the Evening News.

The infection ended up destroying the cartilage and bone surfaces in his wrist which restricted his movement and the strength in the joint. "I will never be back to 100 per cent but it is good to just be back playing again," he said. "The wrist is still sore and I have to have it heavily strapped. It's an injury that takes 18 months to settle down but even then it might not be back to full use."

"It is a very lonely battle when you are out injured and you feel as they you've been left on the shelf but that is football," he said. "You are easily forgotten when you are not playing but you just have to keep plugging away. My contract is up at the end of the season but for now I just want to get some games under my belt. It has been a very difficult eight months and I'm just happy to be on the pitch and can see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. I have to keep working and basically it is down to myself to how far I go, how far I push myself."

Matt Baker took over his place in the side and performed excellently. Baker has even had a call-up to the England semi-professional squad, as Cooksey did last year. "I still see myself as an international and hope to be considered for the games against America and Holland in February and March but my first aim is to get a few reserve team games under my belt," Cooksey said. "My ambition is still to play at the highest level but time might run out for me."