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Ireland ace John Jackson back in training after second skull fracture of hockey career


John Jackson

John Jackson

John Jackson

Ireland star John Jackson is training again following another miraculous recovery after sustaining a fractured skull for the second time in his illustrious career.

The 34-year-old Bath defender's future was plunged into doubt in 2011 when he suffered a similar injury in a pitch-opening exhibition match at Stormont.

However, he made a full recovery and went on to represent his country at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and then lifted a bronze medal at the following year's European Championship in London.

On the occasion of his injury in Belfast almost 10 years ago, it was a clash of heads with Banbridge player Bruce McCandless that did the damage, leaving him with temporarily impaired vision in one eye.

A fellow Ulsterman was also involved in his latest injury scare when the pair were training with Bath, who play in English hockey's second tier.

Jackson recalled: "I got hit on the temple and ear area with a backhand shot from fellow Irish international Stuart Loughrey. Basically, it left me with another skull fracture and a burst eardrum.

"Thankfully, the fracture did not require surgery and there were no issues with internal bleeding so it could have been much worse.

"The most difficult aspect was my ear, as the impact caused some temporary deafness and balance issues that are still ongoing. However, despite my list of injuries, I count myself very lucky when comparing the amount I've played to the amount I have missed."

Despite his enforced three-month lay-off, Jackson has missed very little hockey due to the Covid-19 pandemic which has halted the sport on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Jackson has won over 250 Irish caps to date and last played for Ireland, like the rest of his international team-mates, at the abortive Olympic qualifying bid against Canada in Vancouver in November 2019.

He added: "I am not sure what will happen going into the next few weeks and months due to Covid as things are constantly evolving.

"But I am just pleased to be fit again and to be in a position to train and contribute to whatever remains of our season."

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