For an athlete, the mental scars from an on-pitch accident can take much longer to heal than the physical scars.
Just ask Moises Henriques.
During a Natwest T20 Blast game in June last year, while running to claim a catch, Henriques ran headfirst into Surrey teammate Rory Burns. The accident left Henriques needing to eat his food through a straw for the next five weeks and getting three surgeries to repair his jaw. The sickening collision led to the match being abandoned once Henriques and Burns were taken to hospital unconscious while Surrey players like Kevin Pietersen were left in tears.
The accident also created ripples back home as Australians were still coming to terms with the death of Phillip Hughes on the cricket field. The Australian cricket team, in England at the time, rushed to check on the 29-year-old.
“The first 24 hours after the accident were crucial. But it wasn’t as bad as the media portrayed it. Some outlets even claimed that I was fighting for my life, which wasn’t true,” Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Henriques told HT ahead of his team’s Indian Premier League opening clash against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Tuesday.
While Henriques has gone on to say that he had never even been hit that hard while playing rugby, he added that the gruesome nature of his injury made him keener to return to the sport faster, lest it became a mental block.
“I didn’t find it too hard to return to sport despite the severity of the injury. With that kind of incident, there’s always the possibility of having a mental block which stays on for long after the incident. However, I tried to attack those demons by returning to the ground as soon as possible,” the all-rounder added.
He gave ample demonstration of not skipping a beat despite the accident after scoring some handy knocks for New South Wales, including an 89 against Queensland in the Matador BBQs One-Day Cup. He also scored a 62 and a 41 not out in his last two T20 matches for Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League. Despite their loss to Bangalore on Tuesday, Sunrisers are hoping Henriques carries his great form into the IPL this season.