London Welsh, Man Flu and a Big Hill
Last weekend I was back at Old Deer Park to spend the day at the mighty London Welsh. It’s the first time I have been back since the professional club sadly folded and although I had heard that things were still alive and kicking with the amateur side taking centre stage, I didn’t really know what to expect when I turned up.
Sorry, for those of you who don’t know, let me just give you a bit of context to this. London Welsh is not only one of the oldest but also one of the most successful club sides in Rugby History. Producing 43 British Lions and 177 Wales internationals its fair to say they they’ve done their bit for the world game. Sadly two years ago after spending over 130 years in the top flights the club went bankrupt and the professional side was liquidised. I spent two years playing for London Welsh in which time we won the championship, got relegated from the premiership, had a hell of laugh and made some lifelong friends, so obviously I was gutted when the news broke.
Well I’m glad to say that even though the league that the side now play in has changed, not a lot else has. I turned up to a packed patrons lunch accompanied by former captain and physical wonder of the modern game John Mills. The place was just as busy as when we last played there and that same positive vibe was reverberating around the clubhouse. I had a great day including awarding the tight head prop MVP (not sure why I went American there, MVP sounds better than ‘Man of The Match’ though right? Besides its gender neutral so makes more sense… not saying that he was a girl… ok shut up now). Anyway he scored two tries which may and probably shouldn’t ever happen again in his career, so it was an easy decision. It was good to get the chance to catch up with so many old faces and to be reassured that it’s going to take a lot more than some financial issues to destroy a proper rugby club like London Welsh.
After a relatively quiet weekend I was looking forward to throwing myself into a big week of rehab and training, Mr man flu however had other ideas for me. Even though I have had a couple of colds and this little bout of flu I have been so lucky to not have many secondary illnesses or infections since the accident but I do wonder if I’m more susceptible to them now. The literature shows that there is on going research into the effects of spinal cord damage on the immune system. What we do know already is that pneumonia is the leading cause of death following acute spinal cord injury. It has been long believed that higher susceptibility to get infections was due to motor dysfunction, e.g. the impairment of the muscles involved in breathing and coughing. Although these factors are surely to blame, they aren’t the only ones. Evidence is now accumulating that a “paralysis” of the immune system, the so-called SCI-IDS (spinal cord injury-induced immune deficiency syndrome) is co-responsible.
People with complete and higher-level injuries are obviously at greater risk and on that note I’m glad to hear that Matt (Hampson) is on the mend after spending the festive period in hospital. That being said I can’t remember ever having flu before and rarely even a cold, so I wonder if my immune system has also been affected to some extent….? (If anyone knows more about this or has experienced something similar, any input would be much appreciated.) I’m probably just being melodramatic.
Monday I was pretty much housebound as cold sweats and the inability to move further than 20ft from a toilet was proving rather debilitating. I took the chance to catch up on some admin and figure out some more logistics of this Snowdon trek. Its quite hard to think about climbing a mountain when you feel like there’s one rattling around inside your skull and your shivering so much that you’ve got your ski jacket on in bed, however it was proving a welcome distraction from the cabin fever. On Tuesday Pete and I were off to st Georges hospital in London to speak their trauma physios and OTs. It was an important one for us as they are one of the leading trauma centres in the country, so I was keen not to cancel. Luckily I felt a bit fresher Tuesday morning and after Pete had a look at me and told me to hold my breathe in the car for two and half hours we decided to crack on. I enjoy speaking at the hospitals, after all, the NHS has done so much for me over the last few months so it’s just nice to help out any way I can in return. Whether it’s any use to them I’m not sure, but no ones fallen asleep on us yet…..
So yep I’m still feeling rough but managed to get a walk in last night and a light gym session done this morning. I’m keen to get going because I need to get my arse in gear if I’m going to make it up Snowdon in a couple of months. At the same time im conscious that I don’t want to drag this man flu out any longer, so i’m trying to not overdo it. It’s that awkward work/rest balance again.
It feels great to have this Snowdon climb to aim for now. It puts a real purpose behind the training that I’m doing and adds that extra bit of motivation. The challenge for us is to hit the fitness and strength levels I am going to need for the climb without compromising any of my recovery. The two should compliment each other, however it’s not that simple. To get fitter I am going to have to increase my training load. Increased training load usually results in increased tone. Increased tone can be a bitch (clinically speaking). So we are putting our heads together to come up with a training plan that we can work both with and around my usual rehab.
The decision to attempt the climb comes down to three key things:
1. I want to push my limits. This will be a big test for me and I want to discover what my mind and body are now capable of.
2. The date falls just inside a year since the accident. It would mean a huge amount to me to be able to go from being told I would never walk again to climbing a mountain within 12 months. I hope it can then inspire others who are facing what seems to be an impossible task to not lose hope.
3. Id like to give back. Moving forward I plan to take on a number of challenges for charity. This climb will raise money for Restart rugby who have been my main supporter since the beginning and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
It’s going to be a difficult test but one that we’re all looking forward to. Although concerning the climb I think Pete might currently be a bigger worry for mountain rescue than me after a decent Christmas.😉
If you haven’t already seen, we are attempting the climb on Sunday April 1st and have opened it up to anyone who would like to join us. If you would like to come along and feel that you could put up with us for the day then please either direct message me on instagram: @edjackson8 or FB: https://www.facebook.com/edjackson8/ for more info.
If you would like to make a donation and for more information please visit:
Eds attempt on Snowdon
P.s. I was only joking about mountain rescue Pete, please don’t put a hit out on me.🙏🐴🇮🇹