Footballer's painful road to recovery following head injury

Ex-Ely City FC player Sam Goodge on dealing with head trauma

Since being diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome, ex-Ely City footballer Sam Goodge had issues with his digestive system and lost 15kg as a result. - Credit: Sam Goodge

A footballer who “was in no place to help myself” after suffering a head injury said he has found new strength on his road to recovery. 

Sam Goodge has described his story of pain, frustration and joy during Brain Awareness Week after suffering a clash of heads while playing for Ely City in 2019. 

Sam began to get painful headaches, feel “constantly fatigued” and was bed-bound for three weeks. 

 "I was in no place to help myself and was slipping into depression," Sam said.

“I sought out help and after a clear CT scan, I was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome.”

Sam thought his condition was something he feared would “last for months, years even”.

Sam Goodge for Ely City vs Histon February 2019

Sam Goodge (right) in action for Ely City against Histon in the Eastern Counties League Premier Division in 2019. - Credit: Ian Carter

The ex-Robin has previously suffered head trauma, including at a rugby match where he was knocked out for 20 minutes but never checked by a professional. 

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“It turns out that due to previous head trauma in years gone by, I was more susceptible to longer lasting symptoms this time around,” Sam said. 

“Things started to improve and I was reaching personal goals, but there was another issue- my digestive system had decided it didn't want to work anymore.” 

Issues with his digestive system meant a restricted diet, as well as daily abdominal discomfort. 

But something that Sam has found hard to take is significant weight loss, which has, in turn, affected his self-confidence. 

“I put up with pain daily, but perhaps the toughest pill to swallow has been the weight loss,” he said. 

“A lot of my clothes don't fit anymore and I'm pretty self-conscious about my appearance to be honest.” 

Sam still suffers with persistent headaches and sleep issues, but with the help of friends and family, he has been able to revitalise himself. 

He is also pleased the subject of concussion is being talked about more often, and a parliamentary inquiry into the link between sport and long-term brain injury was opened on March 9. 

Sam has also received support from brain charity Headway and the Oliver Zangwill Centre in Ely. 

“All of this has taught me so much and strengthened my character to new heights. I've opened up to friends and family more and become closer to them as a result,” he said. 

“Being honest about my past has also led to me to tackle deep-rooted psychological stuff that I would've otherwise been carrying around in the future.” 

Ely City FC have offered to stage an event to raise awareness of Sam’s condition in the near future.