VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Whitecaps captain Jay DeMerit spoke with the media for the first time on Saturday, exactly a week after rupturing his Achilles tendon six minutes into last weekend’s match against Toronto FC at BC Place.
The Wisconsin native, his foot wrapped in a bandage, stressed that he didn’t blame the medical staff for his injury, despite the fact he battled Achilles tendonitis throughout preseason and took injections to deal with the pain in the leadup to opening day.
“I was dealing with [tendonitis] for almost a month before the actual rupture happened,” DeMerit said. “From that standpoint it was something we were monitoring closely. Hindsight’s very easy for us and I know the medical department felt very hard done by as well. As a team, as a group, we make decisions. The injury itself, in terms of the signs it was showing, showed signs of tendonitis, and if I could play with the pain, then I could play.
“That was the prognosis going into the game. In the week leading up to the game I was able to train full the whole week and able to get through the training without any blow up of swelling or without any real signs to show that it was going to rupture.”
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DeMerit explained that the rupture occurred on his jump rather than on his landing as he went up for a header.
“I finally got to watch the replay this week,” DeMerit said. “It’s on the take off that I feel it. That’s why I land so awkwardly. I think I slowly look behind me like somebody kicked me, but obviously that’s not what happened.”
The 33-year-old veteran is in the final year of his Whitecaps contract, so the timing of his injury is hardly ideal. But he’s determined to make a comeback and is ready for a long and gruelling rehabilitation period.
And while DeMerit admits the thought of retirement briefly flitted across his mind, it was an idea he quashed very quickly.
“You always think about that stuff – do you want to go through these types of things?” DeMerit said. “But that’s not really in my personality. I don’t really think that way when my sensible head prevails normally…for me, it’s about getting back and playing again, and I’ll go off [when I eventually retire] on my own terms.”