Fundraising campaign launched to help family of Ryan Bird after ex-Portsmouth, Yeovil and Cambridge United striker suffers horror injury
Former Pompey striker Ryan Bird is contemplating retirement after suffering a horror injury.
And his club Slough Town have launched a fundraising campaign to help the 33-year-old and his young family.
Bird ruptured the patellar tendon in his left knee after 10 minutes of Saturday’s National League South encounter with St Albans.
He subsequently underwent an operation on Tuesday night and is expected to be sidelined for at least eight months, ruling him out of the campaign.
As a self-employed electrician, Bird is now unable to work for potentially three months, leaving his family without an income.
It’s a heartbreaking scenario for the likeable for Cambridge United man, who scored three goals in 25 appearances for Pompey before leaving in September 2014.
Yet he has been touched by the support of the football family, who have so far raised more than £2,600.
Bird told The News: ‘About 10 minutes into the game, I went to jump and it was like my legs went from underneath me.
‘I honestly don’t know what happened, there was no-one near me. My knee pinged out, it made the loudest song ever, almost like a gunshot.
‘I grabbed hold of it and my knee was all over the place. My knee was halfway up my leg. It was disgusting.
‘Having seen the video back, it’s clearly a freak accident. It’s crazy.
‘I’ve been told that a patellar tendon injury is worse than an ACL. My knee wasn’t attached to the bone, it completely ruptured, so I couldn’t lift my leg.
‘They reckon it’s at least eight months without playing. It could be longer, depending on how rehab goes.
‘I might have to think about retiring. By the time I get back I will be aged 34-and-a-half – do I want to risk doing it again when I am self-employed? As it is, I can’t work for two or three months.
‘I have to think about whether I want to try to play again, because I can probably play just two years after that.
‘I am an electrician, most of the stuff I do is up and down ladders, crawling along the floor on my knees. I need to be active.
‘And being self-employed also means I won’t earn a penny while out injured – with a mortgage to pay.’
Bird returned to the electrician trade in July 2017, following a Football League career with Pompey, Cambridge United, Yeovil and Newport County.
He is now part-owner of Berkshire-based WD Electrical, with his partner, Emma, working part-time, having given birth to the couple’s daughter, Eva, 17 months ago.
Bird underwent an operation on Tuesday night at the Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, and currently remains there.
And he is stunned over the level of support among supporters from former clubs for the fundraising efforts.
He added: ‘Slough had talked about a fundraising campaign, but I didn't know they’d done it.
‘When I woke up after my operation, I had all these really nice messages. That’s when I found out!
‘My former clubs Pompey, Cambridge United and Yeovil have all Tweeted about the campaign. It’s lovely when everyone comes together like this.
‘Seeing people care has really lifted me. I’m so thankful.’
To donate to the campaign visit https://gofund.me/863555fd
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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