A Thorough Examination

Aged 18, straight from school in 1960, I was introduced to the somewhat harder reality of Old Wimbledonians rugby.

The tallest in the back row of the Extra A (third) team was where I began; soon to be tried in the second where I was tackled simultaneously by two heavies who sent me crashing to the hard ground on my left shoulder. I rose to my feet, swung my arm round a bit, and packed down in the scrum grasping my second row partner’s arm for support, and continued the game.

I have never recovered from this, although I did continue playing until I

was aged 45, alongside my friend Geoff Austin, for the Old Whitgiftians, when I was able to throw the affected arm out in a straight line ready to jump for the ball as it crossed the outstretched arm of the man in front.

Although I often bore pain running down from the shoulder to the palm of the injured arm, I could generally tolerate this, yet there would be periodic flareups taking me first to NHS facilities and eventually to an osteopath. Over the years I have tried steroid injections, physiotherapy, and eventually the osteopath’s manipulation, which was about 30 years ago. Nothing worked.

For the last three or four months I have been unable to move my neck left, right, up, or down. Realising I would never again manage to dance the hokey cokey – or in fact anything else – this afternoon I kept an appointment with New Milton Chiropractic clinic where I received the most thorough examination ever, including x-rays which had never before been offered. A fault in the x-ray equipment caused too much delay to permit a proper diagnostic explanation, so I will commence a series of treatment beginning on Friday, starting with the diagnosis.

This evening we all dined on Kings House Chinese Takeaway excellent fare with which Jackie and I drank the same wines as yesterday.


  1. I am sorry to hear about your injury and the lack of appropriate treatment, Derrick. I hope this new treatment will be effective and provide a welcome relief. Feel better soon!

  2. It does pay to be the squeaky wheel when it comes to any medical establishments. Hopefully the rugby and league unions will place stricter guidelines regarding play to preserve the players mental and physical health at all levels. I hope the new treatment brings you relief, Derrick.

    1. Thank you very much, Suzanne. As you know, safety has become a key factor in the professional game and it certainly needs to be bearing in mind the size, weight, speed of the modern players.

  3. Commiserations regarding your health. Let’s hope they can find a cure, or at least more relief for you. Getting older… is not for cissies, is it?! ‘Im and me survived cancer many moons ago and are still battling on. We both read and write a lot, which keeps the mind from rusting, and listen to lots of music. Onwards and upwards! Best regards.

  4. Wow, Derrick, I hope that the doctors can help you get your movement back. I know how this feels because I have three herniated lower lumbar which stop my life completely when they go out. I have a handicap tag for my truck. Get well, my friend! ????????❤️

  5. It seems that all of our IOUs from our youth come due with a vengeance (and pain) as we age. At least we can still hopefully enjoy our wine and delicious meals.

  6. I remember that game we are pictured in very well. It was against the Old Brightonians, who played in identical colours to the Old Whits, so we had to wear white shirts. The shirts were all small size, so how you and I fitted into them I’ll never know! Our local chiropractor Neil is amazing – any back pain I go straight to him, and he always sorts it out. However, I can’t do the Hokey Cokey either nowadays.

    1. Thanks very much, Geoff. I knew you would have something to add – and you did very well.

  7. You know I can relate to your appalling neck problems and I so hope that someone suggests a untra sound scan and a second Xray to finally get to the bottom of your problems.

    I had a long telephone conversation with my spinal specialist today and another face to face review is booked for the new year. Let’s hope we both find relief very soon.

  8. I hope you can get some relief soon. I’m surprised you’ve not had x-rays, but at least it sounds as though you’re finally going to get some proper attention.

  9. It’s always good to get to the bottom of things in the mind … and to relax in the body to let it happen. Good luck Derrick! I’m rooting for you ????????????

  10. We sometimes think we’re invincible in our youth and become much more careful as we age. Best wishes for comfort, relief and better mobility in your renewed healing journey. Anything is possible, so be persistent.

    1. One class of students called me Superman – at least I didn’t have his nasty accident. Thanks very much, JoAnna

  11. It is such fun seeing the much younger you. It has been noted by others, yet so true that our youthful activities come back to bite in later years. My ‘bites’ relate to carrying overloaded rucksacks whilst hiking in the mountains.

  12. Oh, yes, those sports injuries can haunt us later in life. (sad face) I’m so sorry to hear you have been in such pain for so long.
    I hope and pray you get some help soon.
    Keep us updated. We care about you! We are cheering you on!
    (((HUGS))) ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

  13. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve had to suffer so long from the pain of this sports injury. I hope the new examination leads to effective treatments. <3

    I picked you out in that photo, and it's wonderful that you and Geoff are still in contact (even if not playing rugby ;)), and that he commented, too.

    1. Thank you very much, Merril. Geoff continued longer than I did. I only stopped when we moved to Newark and I thought it too late to join a new club

  14. I am sorry to hear about your chronic pain, Derrick, and I hope the examinations will lead to effective treatments. I spotted you right away in the photo.

  15. I am so sorry that this issue has plagued you throughout your life. I think more attention is paid now to young people’s injuries to prevent this kind of lingering trouble. At least my grandson(who has twice broken his arm) was watched very carefully after. I think the chiropractor is a great option.

  16. Fingers crossed that they can provide some relief. My OH played both rugby and water polo well into his 40s suffering numerous injuries but none too long lasting.

  17. I hope that you can finally find some relief. Carrying an old injury around for so many years is not pleasant. Sending good vibes your way!

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