Wednesday, August 18, 1999 Published at 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Footballer in ground-breaking knee operation
Many footballers' careers are blighted by knee injuries
A Bristol Rovers footballer has undergone a ground-breaking knee operation which could save his career.
Twenty-one-year-old Jamie Shore had cartilage tissue from a dead donor implanted into his right knee at Droitwich Knee Clinic in Worcestershire on Tuesday.
He is the first professional sportsperson in England to have the operation which, if successful, could have big implications for other similarly affected footballers and athletes.
Knee injuries are one of the most common causes of footballers having to retire early.
Celia Anderson, managing director of the Droitwich Knee Clinic, said: "Careers can be shortened quite drastically by knee injuries.
"Jamie is a young chap and, without the operation, he would not be able to continue playing."
Ms Anderson said the operation - known as an allograft - had been a success and Mr Shore was making a good recovery.
The midfield player should be able to go home by Friday.
It will be a year before he will be able to resume professional football, if all goes well.
He will have an arthroscopy using keyhole surgery in about three months time to check on his progress.
The operation has been carried out in Europe for the past 10 years, but a recent breakthrough in the way tissue is stored has improved its success.
"Other sportspeople are holding fire to see how successful this operation is to see whether it will take off," said Ms Anderson.
The private Droitwich Knee Clinic has developed an international reputation for knee operations and receives patients from around the world.
It was set up in 1988 by surgeon Mr Angus Strover, who performed Mr Shore's operation.
Knee injuries are on the increase in the UK, especially among women.
Experts say that part of the problem is that people are undertaking strenuous exercise when their muscles are not sufficiently developed to withstand the strain.