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Ander Torriko, three cruciate breaks in a row, four operations and 1,044 days later

2024-02-21T07:02:14.481Z

Highlights: Anaitasuna center back Ander Torriko suffered three consecutive cruciate tears in his right knee, four operations and a desert of 1,044 days without playing an official match. “I don't know of another similar case in handball,” he says via video call. After returning in a friendly in his town, in Zumaia, after the international break and there he was: two goals against Cuenca, four against Granollers, as many against Sinfín.


The Anaitasuna center back returns to the competition after almost three years of ordeal in his right knee. “I don't know of another similar case in handball,” he says.


Ander Torriko, against Cuenca, after his return from injury. Oscar Aznar

A week ago, Anaitasuna center back Ander Torriko (Zumaia, Gipuzkoa; 26 years old) went to bed bitter after losing by a goal in Granollers (32-31), and with the extra tute on his body due to the return hours to Pamplona by bus as soon as the match ends.

But when he woke up, he thought that, after all the hardships of the last three years, the metallic taste of defeat was by no means the worst thing in his career.

He had suffered three consecutive cruciate tears in his right knee, four operations and a desert of 1,044 days without playing an official match.

“I don't know of another similar case in handball,” he says via video call.

His career was dislocated on March 21, 2021, in a crash in Puente Genil (Córdoba), when his anterior cruciate ligament broke.

The operation went well, but a scare in the third month foreshadowed a bumpy recovery.

Until in December of that year, when he was close to returning, he left again.

The same doctor operated on him and then the rehabilitation was better, but at the end of August 2022, he was about to compete again, another break in the same area.

“As soon as I was strong, my knee gave out.

There I did question whether I was capable of demanding such abrupt changes of direction from my body,” explains this game organizer who previously played for Benidorm (2016-18) and Sinfín de Santander (2018-20).

We had to go to the operating room for the third time in a year and a half, but the surgeon from the first two interventions resigned.

“For emotional reasons and I think also for professional reasons,” says Ander Torriko.

And he referred him to an expert in Madrid, Dr. Manuel Leyes.

“I went with my father one weekend to see him and I left happy even though he told me that he was going to be away for 15 months.

There was hope.

Of course, that intervention had to be the definitive one.

We saw that, among the many factors that influenced a problem like this, the second operation had not been done with the necessary precision," explains the Anaitasuna centre-back, recently renewed until the end of the season (he had already extended in March 2022, after the second break).

The third surgery, actually, there were two.

“The femur and tibia were too punctured and they gave me a bone graft.

They reconstructed both bones and three months passed until the last operation, on December 16, 2022,” she recalls with the accuracy of someone who has suffered an ordeal.

But then yes, that was the good one and within the estimated deadlines.

After returning in a friendly in his town, in Zumaia, Asobal returned after the international break and there he was: two goals against Cuenca, four against Granollers, as many against Sinfín and, above all, the unique feeling of competing.

“I had forgotten,” admits Torriko, who in the midst of this ordeal ended his INEF degree, did a half-master's degree in sports

coaching

and high-performance psychology, a course on strength training in a rehabilitation center, and read everything. what he could and more about the crusader's damn injury.

That moment.


After more than 1000 days, again on the court in an official match.


On the 10th he returned to the Cathedral.


Zorionak @andertorriko


What a pleasure to see you play again!

pic.twitter.com/NJGlfvwx73

— elbalondeurra (@FernandoUrra7) February 4, 2024

“The first thing I have done is not to complain, not to bother too much the people who were worried about me, because we each have our own thing.

It's okay to let yourself be helped, but without bothering too much.

It was something of mine.

And then I've also fed myself self-talk to motivate myself on the worst days.

I am proud of what I have achieved,” confesses this young man from Gipuzkoa from his home in Pamplona.

“The only goal was not to be a handball player again.

Also feeling healthy, going out one morning for a run in the mountains or going with a friend in the summer to play fronton ball,” he points out.

At the moment, he has not recovered the movements and turns prior to the three broken crusaders, and he may never reach that point.

“Now I pay a lot of attention to how other players support, brake so suddenly, make those changes of direction… I see the game differently, I am calmer.

I think more about how I'm going to support my knee, I don't go with the same intensity.

But I'm feeling good and I'll see how far I can go.

I think I will educate the brain to other types of gestures,” concludes Torriko, more than a thousand days after that broken afternoon in Puente Genil.

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Source: elparis

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