Sturdy Nottinghamshire seam bowler Luke Fletcher has been given the all-clear by his hospital consultant to resume full training next month – exactly six months after sustaining a serious head injury.
Fletcher, one of the most crowd-pleasing figures on the county circuit, was hit by a return drive by Sam Hain in a televised T20 Blast game at Birmingham Bears.
One of the most horrific injuries seen in the county game, it left him grateful to be alive.
He is already back bowling the nets but will be able to take part in complete sessions, including batting, from January 8 when he expects to confirm that he has not suffered any lingering, deep-seated anxiety over the blow.
Fletcher has spent his spare time taking a Level 3 coaching qualification as well as acting as an expert summariser on BBC Radio Nottingham. He will also return to driving, having ridden to Trent Bridge on his bike for much of the autumn.
“It’s very pleasing to finally get the nod to start full training again,” said Fletcher. “I’ve felt pretty good throughout once things settled down, but it’s nice to get the official word that everything is OK.
“It will be great to be able to play football again with the rest of the lads, face bowling in the nets and ease back into my programme.
“The consultant says he’s really happy with how things are looking. I have passed all the computer tests I have been doing at the hospital and there has been improvement since the injury back in July.”
Fletcher has worked closely with Nottinghamshsire;s physiotherapist, James Pipe, who helped him from the field when the incident happened before accompanying him to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Pipe is delighted with the way the player has bounced back from his injury, which forced him to miss the second half of a season in which Nottinghamshire won both limite4d-overs trophies and gained promotion to Division One of the County Championship.
Pipe said: “How Fletch has reacted to the situation is a real testament to his professionalism and a mark of the man. He’s shown his physical as well as mental strength to come through this as he has done in what has been a difficult journey.
“Throughout it all, he has been upbeat and stayed very positive, coming in with a smile on his face. He’s been the perfect patient.”