Gareth Ellis: Injuries are tough, but my playing days definitely over

IT seems everyone is having problems with injuries at the moment and I can't ever remember a time '“ throughout the game '“ as bad as this.

CHEERS: Gareth Ellis receives a gaurd of honour after his last home match for Hull FC last year. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

People often got niggly problems but, in these last few years in particular, there seems a hell of a lot more serious ones.

I’m talking about season-ending injuries or issues that need three-month surgeries. They seem to be more prevalent currently. I don’t know why that is. Speaking from a Hull FC perspective, looking at the injuries we have now, I do wonder if it is just time catching up with us.

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By that, I mean we have played every round of both competitions – Super League and Challenge Cup – aside from the Grand Final itself for the last two years and a lot of our players had played almost all of those matches.

Gareth Ellis and Danny McGuire leave the Headingley pitch after last year's play-off semi-final, Ellis's final game as a player. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Are all of those minutes and all of those games now just taking their toll?

Leeds Rhinos might be in a similar position, for instance. It’s hard to get a definitive answer.

Looking at the science of it all nowadays, we know exactly how many minutes players are running for, we can measure all their workloads and all the pre-hab and re-hab work is better than ever.

I know our physios, medical and strength and conditioning staff are reluctant to talk about it all – the issue of all these injuries – as it doesn’t look too good on them! But they have been brilliant previously keeping the majority of our players out there – we didn’t lose many before – and it just shows you can put all the best practices in place but, sometimes, when it comes to injuries, they just happen.

Hull FC's Hakim Miloudi and Kirk Yeaman shake hands with Hull KR's Tommy Lee.

With the game played as it is, you can find yourself in many tricky situations and, when I look back to my playing days, I realise I was probably only millimetres away from more serious injuries on numerous occasions.

I might just have got away with things.

But now, despite all the great work our guys do, it’s looking like an A&E department at Hull and many other clubs are similar. It’s tough to take.

With it being a salary cap sport, it’s clear you need as many of your best-paid players on the field at the same time. St Helens are relatively injury-free and you can tell; they’re top of Super League and playing great.

As for me, this time last week, I was all ready to come out of retirement and I had it in my head I was going to play again.

But I trained on Monday and that night got home and just had a bit of a moment.

I thought ‘why am I doing this?’ I couldn’t think of a really good reason why I was especially as we didn’t have injuries in my position. Brad Fash was coming back from his broken jaw, too, and having spoken to Kirk Yeaman after he came out of retirement for Magic it rammed it home. He was all set to play for the rest of the year after that derby in Newcastle – but within 12 hours said he was never doing it again!

In that sense, personally, it’s probably been a good experience this situation we’ve found ourselves in. It’s helped me finally put my playing days to bed. You always wonder if you can do one more year. But I realise I’ve moved on now. I had 20 years doing that. Now it’s someone else’s turn.