Tuesday , September 28 2021

Cushendall Martin Burke plays with a cracked leg in his neck

Playing with the remains of a broken vertebra in the back of the neck, it is safe to say that there was little left on Martin Burke's way on Sunday.

Cushendall's fullback was at the heart of a strong defensive appearance as Ruairi Ógs was on a Ballycran side whose inexperience on the big stage showed.

It was a day that looked like it would never happen to him again.

At the first season with Antrim at the beginning of the year, Burke worked in the gym and made tricky hopes with the weight of the bar.

The bar slid out of his grip and reached the back of the neck.

"I dropped the weight bar down my neck and broke a spine. We did tricky hope and it came down and hit me.

"I was lucky, I did not go to the hospital for three or four days, I just thought it was painful."

When he went to the Antrim Area Hospital, the X-rays showed that he had "cut off" the C6 Spinous Process. It is the bony part attached to each vertebra, to which muscles and ligaments in the back are joined.

Because his cervical spine – which holds the spinal cord – was well protected, no surgery was needed, but the injury will never completely heal.

"The physicians said it was stable enough. It's not healed. The spinal process is actually just hacked on the back and it's non-union so it's not healed.

"It will not heal. Not because I came back, it will not heal in general, but they say that the cervix is ​​still well covered and protected."

The first doctor in the Antrim area told him he would be wise to stop his harvest days, but at 29 years Burke was not happy to let go of it.

"The original doctor said it did not, but I think it's just their felt response on all neck injuries. When I saw the specialist, they said it would not be a problem.

"The rest of my family, my girlfriend, they're kind to say" look, you're 29 now, you've got the rest of your life to think about. "But Alex Delargy slips his fingers and he's back. Arron Graffin came back from his knee, but unfortunately he has done it again today. It shows the determination to be part of this.

"I've been told that I'm angry. It was not until Antrim put me through to see the top specialist as they said," This will not be a problem, you can do things. "

"I went to a very good physique in Ballymena, a big rugby man, Cameron Steele. He used to treat neck injury and he had me in the main seat and everything, so it was three or four months hard to try to get back."

It was August when he came back to throw, his head turned to the rehab evenings in the gym while he saw that his teammates jumped like spring lambs in the sunshine.

It's more stiff than evil now, even though he acknowledges getting "a little feeling down in his hand an odd time". In the car on his way to Armagh on Sunday, he had team mate Ryan McCambridge massage the area to unload it.

Burke was bad because he would not miss every day he could save.

"I was at gym training, doing a program and maybe eight or nine of us and the rest training.

"We are watching them and it's a killer, but you know there might be days like this along the line so you just keep it.

"That's why you're coming back. It's not for the leagues and Féis. It's satisfying to get over the line because it's been three years since we came here.

"It's brilliant. It's frustrating when you're out of it and watching other teams win." Antrim is very competitive, there are four or five teams up there and some years you get out of what you want to do the most and drive forward. "

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