CLOSE CALL: Josh Keenan of Buderim is recuperating after surgery for compartment syndrome.
CLOSE CALL: Josh Keenan of Buderim is recuperating after surgery for compartment syndrome. Greg Miller

Soccer player gets 112 stitches after 'minor' leg knock

AN INNOCUOUS leg knock ruined Josh Keenan's 18th birthday plans, but it could have done so much more damage.

Playing for Buderim Wanderers during the Gold Coast Cup tournament a week yesterday, the 17-year-old was three minutes into the second game when he suffered a minor cork in his left quad muscle.

Not feeling any major pain, Keenan played out the rest of the 90-minute game without any issues.

Hours later Keenan was in an operating theatre at Gold Coast Hospital, under the knife to remove a blood clot in his thigh that required 112 stitches to repair.

"I couldn't feel it after the game, so I got changed, had dinner and it kept swelling up," Keenan recalled, as he recovered at home in Buderim.

After passing out in the waiting room of a medical centre, Keenan was transferred by ambulance to Gold Coast Hospital where he was sent to surgery immediately, after being diagnosed with compartment syndrome.

The wound was left open for a day to allow some of the swelling to abate, before 112 stitches were used internally and externally to close the massive cut.

"I've got two weeks of no weight-bearing now, then about four to six weeks of full recovery again," Keenan said.

He will have to undergo plenty of rehabilitation too, after surgeons were forced to cut through his quad muscle to remove the clot, in what has proven to be a frustrating season. Keenan suffered a dislocated knee earlier in the year that took 14 weeks of recovery.

"After two weeks with the knee I lost my quad strength so there'll be heaps of strength and conditioning work to do once I get these stitches out," Keenan said.

"The pain was so intense."

If he'd passed out and left the injury unattended for 12 more hours doctors told Keenan he would have cut off the oxygen supply to his leg and the consequences could have been much more serious, potentially resulting in the loss of his leg had the condition deteriorated further.

"My quad would've died," Keenan said.

He said a few of his friends he'd been staying with were quite shaken up after the incident, having dismissed it as a minor injury before the severity of the clot became apparent.

"They were just telling me to ice it but I was nearly vomiting from the pain," he said.

"You can't really prevent it though.

"It just depends on how the body reacts to the kick.

"It's not so much how hard you get a knock but where it happens."

Keenan said he'd have to make up for his missed celebrations for his 18th tomorrow, given he remained on painkillers as his recovery continued.

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