Ryan Hollingshead - FC Dallas - Competes for ball

FC Dallas defender Ryan Hollingshead returned to training with the first team Friday for the first time since suffering three fractured vertebrae in a car accident in Irving, Texas, on January 6. Hollingshead, 25, had been helping a driver in a car that had been involved in an accident when he himself was struck by a car. Following his accident, Hollingshead was in a neck brace for more than a month.

“[Returning] felt so good,’’ Hollingshead said. “For the last 10, 11 weeks, all my training has been on my own… so, being out with the group, being around the guys, is huge – such a boost for my morale, and coming back. And it feels good. I feel good right now.’’

Team excited to have @rmhollingshead back at training.

WATCH. pic.twitter.com/R1COLVevrH

— FC Dallas (@FCDallas) March 24, 2017

Hollingshead said he is fully cleared to practice and play in games, and at the moment, it’s all about getting himself back into game shape.

“My neck is as good as it’s ever gonna be right now,’’ he said. “(The doctor) basically said it’s a matter of fitness; it’s a matter of getting your touch back, kind of getting that rust off from laying in bed for four weeks and then not moving for a while.’’

Hollingshead has been training with the FC Dallas academy team and said he felt as though he made major progress in just the last few days. He is cleared for full contact, including headers, he said, though he admitted he still thinks about the injury; he whiffed on one attempt during a crossing and finishing drill.

“So yeah, it’s still like, re-training my brain to make those thoughts and moving my head the way it can move. But it can. I’m just so used to keeping it tensed up – so I just need to get it loosened up.’’