Doctors told me I could lose my leg after the horror training ground collapse… now I face Leicester in the FA Cup

LIAM GORDON can’t forget his first training session with Walsall – it was almost his LAST!

As with most signings, the 23-year-old’s biggest concern ahead of his first pre-season run was the odd tingling in his stomach as he tried to make a good first impression on his new Saddlers teammates.

Liam Gordon is hoping to give Leicester a run for their money after an injury that could have cost him a leg or even his life


Liam Gordon is hoping to give Leicester a run for their money after an injury that could have cost him a leg or even his lifePhoto credit: Walsall FC
Londoner Gordon now has to live with this scar


Londoner Gordon now has to live with this scar

Half an hour later, Gordon was in the back seat of an ambulance, gasping for air in an oxygen mask, trying to ease the excruciating pain that coursed through his body as he was rushed to the hospital.

What followed was a nightmarish ordeal that could have cost him his life and led to a chilling conversation with a surgeon who warned his left leg might need to be AMPUTED.

However, Gordon struggled through THREE major surgeries on his leg in FIVE DAYS to salvage a career that was literally hanging by a thread.

Incredibly, the Croydon-born full-back made his Saddlers debut at Cheltenham three and a half months later.

And today, Walsall’s warlike defender meets Leicester’s James Maddison, Jamie Vardy and Youri Tielemans in one of the most uplifting FA Cup tales ever.

Gordon said: “It’s going to be a surreal moment. After everything I’ve been through, the most important thing is that I play football at all.

“I pinch myself because I can play against a Premier League side like Leicester who recently won the trophy.”

Gordon recalled the crazy events of that summer’s day while reporting for his first preseason training session after moving from Bolton.

He explained: “It was just a routine 2K run at the training ground and my blood circulation went all the way to my legs. When I finished the race, I collapsed.

“At first everyone thought I was joking, but then they realized there was a serious problem.

“I had just signed for the club and I’m lying on the floor with all these thoughts going through my head.

“I’m the new guy and that’s everyone’s first look at me. I was worried that people would think I wasn’t fit enough for my first training run!

“What followed obviously proved that was not the case.

“The surgeon and specialists later explained that the problem existed in my shin before the run.

Ex-Bolton star Gordon is now lively after starting his Walsall career in the worst possible way


Ex-Bolton star Gordon is now lively after starting his Walsall career in the worst possible wayPhoto credit: Getty

“It’s a condition called compound compartment syndrome, which is often attributed to shin splints that have built up over time.

“The club physiotherapist told me such injuries usually result from car accidents or similar sudden trauma and there is usually a compound fracture. But that wasn’t the case for me – I was just running!”

As his anxious teammates watched, Gordon fought the excruciating pain that is a symptom of the condition.

He said: “I was given oxygen immediately, then gas and air in the ambulance as I told them I needed something more for the pain.

“I probably used the whole tank in the ambulance but the pain was still unbearable – off the scale. On a scale of 1-10 it was a 100! It was brutal.

“If I keep having kids and my partner tells me there’s no greater pain than childbirth, I’ve earned the right to say, ‘Really? Try these!’

“They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Well I need to be pretty strong to recover from that.”

Others could have DIED from the disease without the support of an association with a highly qualified medical team.

The Guyana international added: “When I was discharged from the hospital, they initially said I had a sprained tibia and that I should rest for three weeks.

“If I had followed that advice and the club hadn’t stepped in, I would have been done for.

“I was always sick. I was so sick. I just felt weak and hot and cold.

“I got a massive infection that left me unable to move my toes at all and I still suffer from numbness. Thankfully, Walsall insisted I get an MRI and quickly got to the heart of the matter.

“We wouldn’t be having this conversation right now if they hadn’t. The club not only saved my career – they saved my life.

“I was taken back to the hospital and the surgeons and specialists told me I should have operated six hours after the event – I had my SIX DAYS later.

“That caused the infection that nearly cost me my career because I was told there was a point where the only option would have been to amputate the leg.”

Mercifully, three surgeries in five days saved Gordon’s career, coupled with a lonely hour of rigorous rehabilitation.

To all signings, don’t worry, nobody could have started worse than me with the 2K that nearly killed me!

Liam Gordon

He said: “I left a scar from my knee to my ankle showing the full extent of the damage.

“I still have numbness in my toes and I can’t feel my big toe or my second toe at all. I also have constant numbness in my shin.

“I have to wear insoles in my shoes and football boots to relieve the pressure on my shins.

“To this day I do more weight training on my calves to make them stronger because they removed a lot of muscle for my left leg.

“As a result, my right leg began to overcompensate, leading to pain in my ‘good’ leg.

So I had to regain strength on my left.

“Some players can sometimes cheat in training. I just can’t afford that!

“The gaffer, Michael Flynn, was great and kept it calm in the beginning which helped me get through my rehab without pressure or fans constantly texting me or worrying about me.

“He just said it was an unusual accident in training and when I came back against Cheltenham he explained to everyone what actually happened.

“The fans supported me the whole way and gave me massive motivation throughout.

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“I’m a Christian and this ordeal strengthened my faith in God because without him – or my club physios Ellie Hargreaves and Ewan Turnbull – I couldn’t have gotten through this.”

He added: “All signings shouldn’t worry, nobody could have gotten off to a worse start than me, with the 2K almost killing me!” Doctors told me I could lose my leg after the horror training ground collapse… now I face Leicester in the FA Cup


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