Ched Evans opens up on the 'serious medical condition' that was 'so close' to paralysing him
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Preston North End striker Ched Evans has opened up on the serious medical condition that he reveals was 'so close' to leaving him paralysed from the neck down.
In April, PNE confirmed that Evans would be unavailable for an extended period after he developed the condition.
The club stated that the 34-year-old was facing 'potentially life-changing consequences as a result of repeated high-force contact', with the condition said to be more common in NFL and rugby players.
Evans subsequently underwent successful surgery on the condition.
PNE manager Ryan Lowe revealed earlier this month that the striker had faced a potential setback in his recovery, due to a bone not growing fully following his surgery.
But Evans was given the all-clear to make a return to action, and he came off the bench during his side's 1-1 draw against Millwall on Saturday.
Prior to the game, the 34-year-old conducted an interview with club media, in which he opened up on his long rehabilitation period and road to recovery.
Evans, who signed for PNE in 2021, revealed that he had experienced symptoms for two years after receiving an elbow during an FA Cup game.
He then described the feeling of 'electric shocks' - explained to him as pressure on his spinal cord from a bone and two plates - from future contacts, which would cause temporary paralysis. Some headers also caused him to briefly 'black out'.
But the tipping point for the striker came in an away fixture against Rotherham in March last season. Evans scored in a 2-1 win, but it would be his last game for seven months.
The Welshman was hit in the back of the neck - and reveals he lost feeling in both of his arms as a result. He added that the following day, he could not remember his children's names.
Evans was then called by PNE's head of medicine Matt Jackson, who was concerned about the striker, after training.
He explained: "He suggested we go and see a specialist. In the back of my mind, I knew what the surgeon was going to say because of the symptoms I'd been feeling for a couple of years.
"We went to London and he asked me when I thought about retiring. I said, 'When my body gives up'.
"He just replied with, 'I think that's it now, you're so close to being paralysed from the neck down. One push or a bump in the car, or a slip down the stairs, that could be you'."
Evans underwent successful surgery, but was informed that his bone graft had yet to grow after eight to 12 weeks.
He added: "We went to see him last Monday, and he said, 'Your neck's solid, no risk whatsoever'."
Evans was then told he could return to professional football - and played 17 minutes against Millwall in his first appearance since March.