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Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Monday, 1 March 2010

Injured Arsenal star Aaron Ramsey in 'good spirits'

Aaron Ramsey
Ramsey underwent surgery on Saturday evening following the injury at Stoke

John Toshack has revealed his injured Wales star Aaron Ramsey is "comfortable and in good spirits" in hospital after his horrific double leg break.

The Arsenal teenager had surgery to fix fractures to the tibia and fibula in his right leg after a challenge by Ryan Shawcross in their 3-1 win at Stoke.

Wales boss Toshack said: "He is as comfortable as can be expected.

"He seemed in surprisingly decent spirits when I spoke to him. We hope he has a speedy and successful recovery."

The Welsh midfielder's double compound fracture at the Britannia Stadium had echoes of the injury sustained by Arsenal team-mate Eduardo at Birmingham two years ago.

And the surgeon who operated on Eduardo's injury has offered hope by saying Ramsey should make a full recovery from the similar setback.

Toshack admits Ramsey 'blow'

The 19-year-old was stretchered off and taken straight to hospital after the challenge by Shawcross on Saturday, an incident in which the Stoke defender was sent off.

"It is a horrific injury, it makes you want to vomit," said Toshack. "It is a sad and unfortunate incident. I saw the aftermath of the injury and I thought 'oh no.'

"I still haven't seen the incident on TV, I have just seen the disturbing photographs in the newspapers and you can imagine how I felt.

"For anybody it is a sad, sad thing but for a young player like Aaron who has improved immensely over the last six or seven months.

"And the last couple of games we felt as though we are on the right lines with him, so this is a big blow for all of us involved with Wales - but the main thing is the player's welfare at the moment."

Dr Khalid Baloch, who operated on Eduardo, said: "If it's a straightforward fracture that's been dealt with appropriately with intensive physio then you stand a good chance of returning back to the previous level of activity.

"It is quite variable, the simplest fractures may heal up in two or three months and then there is a period of rehabilitation involved - especially with elite-level athletes.

"On the other hand, if it's a very serious injury it may take many months for the area to heal up and return back to functional activities.

"You've got a time period of anywhere from two or three months to six months for recovery. If it's a simple fracture then he is more likely to return to his previous level of activity.

"As the injury becomes more severe then obviously the rehabilitation is much harder and it's harder to return back to activity.

Aaron Ramsey
I have not seen the tackle again but when I first saw it, I do not think it was a dirty tackle - maybe a bit late but no more

Stoke City defender Glenn Whelan

"If you look at the way Ramsey was tackled, it looks a fairly similar mechanism of injury (to Eduardo).

"There are lots of bones around that area so it's difficult to know whether it's the same bone that has been injured or not, but the area that's been injured is similar.

"With anyone who breaks the lower part of their leg, what you do is look to reduce the fragments, or the bone pieces, back to where they should be and then they are held by screws or plates.

"It varies on exactly where the fracture is but in principle that is what you would do for a fracture around that area."

Turning to the rehabilitation process, Dr Baloch added: "Initially most people are trying to get a range of movement back and also try to build up the muscles around that limb and reduce swelling and discomfort, that is the early phase of the rehabilitation process.

"Beyond that phase there is an increase in the range of impact activities with gradual progression to running and then back to sporting activities over a minimum six to 12 months."

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has condemned the tackle on Ramsey as "horrendous and unacceptable" while he also criticises Stoke's overall approach.

While Arsenal great Bob Wilson has called on football authorities to act in the wake of Ramsey's horrific injury.

He said: "The game has moved forward but the Football Association and the Premier League are content to have a brutal side to the game.

He added: "In my opinion this is born out of most managers and coaches facing Arsenal, plus media pundits and even ex-players, instructing their players to get in their faces.

"Arsenal are a relatively small team. Opposing players are told to shake them up, get in their faces, tackle hard, bully them. I would defy coaches and managers to deny that is the case.


"The tackle by Ryan Shawcross was at best mistimed, at worst reckless and desperate."

Former Gunners keeper Wilson, who had a 40-year association with Arsenal, revealed he had contacted Ramsey after the incident at the Britannia Stadium.

"I was told that he was feeling very little pain following surgery," said Wilson so I sent a text to Aaron and I received a little message back saying 'I'm doing OK'.

"But it is a career-threatening injury, a double compound fracture.

"In the time I played, Don Howe had a similar injury, tibia and fibula through the skin, which is obviously horrific, and he didn't play again.

"Clearly it's a huge setback but I think Aaron will be back. Modern science will aid that recovery. He's a very, very special talent."

Stoke midfielder Glen Whelan had a first-hand view of the incident, helping comfort the Arsenal youngster as he lay in agony.

"I was just trying to do what I could to take the lad's mind off it," said Whelan.

"The lad held onto me with the pain he was going through, and I was telling him not to think about it. He was in a state of shock.

Ryan Shawcross leaves the field in tears
Stoke defender Shawcross left the field in tears after being sent off

"The medical team came on as quickly as possible, and then you just let them take over.

"First and foremost, everyone hopes the young lad gets back as soon as possible, and at the standard he plays at, because he looks a terrific player.

"I was the next one in from the tackle, and saw what had gone on. I was just trying to take the lad's mind off it.

"For Shawcross, he was disappointed what has happened to the boy.

"I have not seen the tackle again but when I first saw it, I do not think it was a dirty tackle - maybe a bit late but no more.

"I do not think anyone goes into a tackle looking to break a leg or injure a player, but there is fine line between being hard and being dirty.

"The two players could go in for that tackle 100 times again and nothing would happen. Hopefully this was just a one-off."

Ramsey joined Arsenal in June, 2008, as a highly rated 17-year-old for £5m from Cardiff City.

He has made 29 appearances in all competitions this season, scoring four times.

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see also
Injured Ramsey in 'good spirits'
01 Mar 10 |  Arsenal
Ramsey has surgery on broken leg
28 Feb 10 |  Arsenal
Stoke team-mates defend Shawcross
28 Feb 10 |  Stoke
Stoke 1-3 Arsenal
27 Feb 10 |  Premier League
Ramsey agrees new deal at Arsenal
01 Jul 09 |  Arsenal
Ramsey compared to star Fabregas
07 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Ramsey completes Arsenal switch
13 Jun 08 |  Arsenal
Wenger retracts Taylor criticism
24 Feb 08 |  Premier League
Birmingham 2-2 Arsenal
23 Feb 08 |  Premier League
Diaby injury mars Arsenal victory
01 May 06 |  Arsenal

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