Ben Coker made his Lincoln City debut 381 days after he was stretchered off in the 21st minute of a 3-0 defeat away at Sunderland for Southend United . After rupturing two ligaments in his knee Coker was immediately ruled out for the remainder of the season.
A year has passed and Coker has moved club, made his debut and even got married since suffering what most consider the worst injury you can get in football, but it was not an easy journey for the defender to get back on to the pitch.
“Having a knee reconstruction is the worst injury you can get in football. And hearing that news was heart breaking.
“I knew my contract was up and I was getting married that summer, so my mind was all over the place.
“Me and my wife to be sat down and spoke about everything that could happen. I had a few days to get my head around the news and after that I threw myself into my rehab.
“But it’s been the hardest year of my career,” Coker said.
Recovering from such a serious injury is physically challenge but the mental battle was just as hard for Coker during his rehabilitation which saw him endure daily sessions in the gym on his road to recovery.
“I’m not going to lie it was very hard. The rehab for my injury was a tough one.” Coker added.
“Every day you are doing the same exercises and go long periods without seeing improvement. But I tried to set little goals and when I hit them it was a great feeling.
“My day to day routine was long 3-4-hour session in the gym and very hands on treatment
“But it’s the mental side that is so tough but each day you are closer to your goal and I always pushed myself every day to reach goals.”
Unlike many other injured players who are released at the end of the season Coker was able to find himself a new club before returning to full fitness and is extremely grateful for everyone at Lincoln putting their faith in him.
“I can’t thank everyone at the club enough for showing their faith in me.
“Danny and Nicky were a massive reason for me signing for the club, but I wish them massive success at Huddersfield.
“This is football though and I am now buzzing to work with Michael Appleton and his staff and show them what I can offer.”
Coker’s hard worked paid off as he made his Lincoln debut in a Leasing.com Trophy game against Rotherham United, after an hour on the pitch Coker was substituted.
“My come back game was a very emotional day. I had worked so hard to get back on the pitch and show people I can come back from my injuries.
“Now I have to be patient and get back to being match fit. I know it won’t happen overnight but I’m well up for the fight.”
A huge factor in recovery for Coker was the support he received from everyone around him and that continued right throughput his debut and it’s something he will never forget.
“The support that I was given from my family, wife and friends I will never forget.
“The support I’ve got has been amazing, from people I know to people I don’t, it’s really helped me more than people will know.
“I would just like to thank everyone who has supported me, as it hasn’t gone unnoticed,” Coker said.
Having made his debut Coker is looking ahead at the remainder of the season and wants to break into the starting line up at Sincil Bank and will do everything to achieve his goal.
“My aim for the rest of the season is to get into the starting line-up. I will be doing everything I can to achieve that.
“My journey hasn’t stopped, now I’m fit I can’t wait for the challenge and am so happy to be back outside on the grass and help the team to improve and climb up the table
“This group has great potential and I want to be a part of it. Up the Imps.”