Writes: Evan Halliday
At the most recent national team camp, England and Everton defender, Sean ‘Jacko’ Jackson finally laced up his boots and got the ball rolling as he continues to move forward on the road to recovery.
Jackson suffered a ruptured ATFL injury at the 2022 World Cup last October and despite making a return in the new year, the 22-year-old experienced a reoccurrence of the same injury in February earlier this year.
“Being honest, when I did it, I broke down, after doing it in the World Cup initially which was a big kick in the teeth, then to do it again after two months of rehabilitation and thinking I was back ready, I was just back at square one,” Jacko said.
“But there’s a lot of pride being back on the pitch, I’ve been sat thinking I’m miles away from it for so long and now I’ve got my boots back on and it just feels really good.”
Working alongside EAFA’s sports rehabilitation specialist Niall Hogan, the defender has continued working on his mobility and fitness, completing various exercises as well as beginning ball-orientated drills.
“We’ve had him out on some initial, early-stage pitch work including straight line running, plyometrics and gentle ball work which has been really promising and looks as though he’s getting up to speed and ready to progress onto the next stage of this process,” Niall said.
Sitting on the sidelines and training independently can be a lonely place at times, however, Sean admitted the support he’s had has only aided his recovery, he said: “Although I was disappointed, I knew I had a good group of people around me, from friends and family back at home to everyone involved with EAFA, even though I knew there was a long road ahead, I felt lucky to have access to a great support network.
“I’ve got to say thanks to R4P (Rehab 4 Performance) who have been with me since October, they have consistently been there for me along the journey.
“My psychologist back at home, Richard Sille insisted on setting myself daily or weekly challenges giving me something to aim for and achieve in the short term and it gave me a visual on how far I’d come, rather than dwelling on the past and waiting for it to be ten months down the line when I can finally kick a ball again.”
Despite fighting his own battles, Jackson has been in his teammates’ corner throughout the year, constantly there for his toffee teammates on their double-winning season and ever-present with England, supporting the lads at camps as well as in the Nations League triumph.
“There was doubt in my mind of whether it was worth me being around the team, but even though I can’t be with them on the pitch it’s been important for me to be with them when I can and support them when I can,” he said.
Looking forward, the future looks a lot brighter than it did seven months ago and the grit and determination that has been on display throughout the England international’s recovery is a factor of the man who will be a vital asset to any side he features in.
“The goals are simple, I’ve got to earn my spot back in the Everton side and the England set-up, they’re two winning teams that I want to be a part of and It won’t be easy to get those spots back but I’ll work to achieve it.
“I can’t wait for those match days, there’s nothing like it, club football or international, I just love that feeling,” Sean expressed.
We wish the best of luck to Sean, everyone can’t wait to see Jacko back on the pitch doing what he loves, hopefully, that day comes soon.