Injured players in Stead-y hands

What do Owen Hargreaves, Jimmy Bullard, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Paolo Guerrero have in common, apart from being professional football players? The answer is that all four have been successful patients of renowned US knee surgeon Richard Steadman.

Steadman is responsible for an orthopedic surgery practice in Vail, Colorado, and his high profile patients include many famous names from the sporting world. In 2001 was inducted into the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame due to his work in extending the careers of skiers.

Manchester United and England midfielder Owen Hargreaves has endured a nightmare 12 months but looks to be finally ready to resume his playing career thanks to Steadman. According to the 28 year old, Steadman described his knee as one of the worst the surgeon had seen in more than 35 years of work.

“It was hard to take because this was coming from a guy who was 72 and had seen a lot of knees,” said Hargreaves.

“I was a bit negative that day and maybe the day after my first surgery on the left knee, which was the worst of the two tendons. I was down and in a lot of pain, and I thought ‘why me?'”

Steadman believes that Hargreaves’ problems stem from complications with a leg break he suffered in his final season at Bayern Munich, and playing on it further enhances the issue.

“I feel I can see light at the end of the tunnel, ” said Hargreaves.

“I am coming back for good, not for a week or two. I am coming back to have a massive effect and for us to win titles.”Football - West Ham United v Hull City Barclays Premier League

Hull City midfielder Jimmy Bullard is another one of Steadman’s football success stories after a succesful surgery to repair a damaged cruciate ligament suffered on his debut against West Ham in January.

This was the second time Steadman had rebuilt the 30 year old’s knee after Bullard originally suffered the injury in 2006.

“Steady knows me, he said ‘get over here straight away’,” said Bullard.

“It was that bad when he went in, he said ‘I have no idea how you played the next 30 minutes’.”

Steadman used a donated cruciate ligament from a dead male to make the knee stronger this time around and he is confident that Bullard will be stronger than ever.

“The first time he came to me his knee had gone 90 degrees in the wrong direction,” said Steadman.

“The question was if he could come back from such a bad injury and he proved he could.

“This time we made a new ligament and it was very successful. We took a donated ligament from a dead male.”

Bullard returned to action last week, and scored a superb 25 yard effort in a reserve outting against Bolton. He is now in line to make just his second appearance for Phil Brown’s team this weekend against former club Fulham.

Real Madrid striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy is another former patient of Steadman’s, as are Michael Owen and Alan Shearer, while Hamburg striker Paolo Guerrero underwent surgery with Steadman at the end of September and is currently beginning his rehabilitation following the successful operation on a damaged cruciate ligament.

Young Everton striker James Vaughan is due to fly to Colorado shortly for an operation that had been delayed after Steadman recently broke his arm skiing.

For more information on the work of Dr Richard Steadman visit –

The Author

Neil Sherwin

Co-editor of Writes mostly on Premier League and A-League with contributions to other sites including TheFootballSack, InBedWithMaradona and Bloomberg's BSports. Has featured on The Guardian's Football Weekly.

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