Injured player on €188 a week

Talented Waterford footballer Tommy Prendergast has revealed how he is surviving on €188 per week sick pay as he waits for an operation on his left shoulder.

Prendergast was unhappy with the results of surgery and insisted on a second opinion when he felt the injury had not healed sufficiently and attempts to return to club duty late last year proved to be unsuccessful.

But Prendergast has been left hugely frustrated by the waiting process as he may not undergo surgery until April at the earliest, with a five-month recovery process predicted.

He will be operated on in Kilkenny but first he is waiting for an MRI scan in Dublin.

All the while, Prendergast, a fitter by trade, is unable to work and is getting by on €188 a week.

He explained: “They only do the scan once a month or every five or six weeks. I’m waiting for a phone call in the next few weeks. There are two lads in my club with the same consultant. One of them got the scan but was told that he would be waiting two months for an operation. So if he’s waiting two months, I’ll be the same. Hopefully it’s keyhole but if they have to open me up again, I’ll be out for longer.”

Prendergast added: “I’m playing snooker at the moment — trying to pass the day. I can’t work, the arm isn’t able. I’m on sick benefit, with a cert off the doctor every week. It’s €188 a week I’m living on, just tipping away. You can’t go too mad with that. I’m surviving, just about, and it’s better than nothing. I’m living at home, which isn’t too bad but I have to give my Mam a few bob.”

The towering Kilrossanty midfielder has already written off the entire 2012 inter-county season but wants to return for his club later in the year.

But his hopes of kicking a football at any level this year depend on the success of further surgery, after two operations last year failed to cure the problem.

“I thought I’d be back playing after the operation but it’s not after setting right and I have to go for another one,” he said. “I won’t be playing any football with Waterford, which is a pity. My goal is to be back for Kilrossanty at the end of the season and hopefully be in with a shout of the county championship.”

Prendergast suspects he sustained the injury against Cork last June in the Munster Senior Football Championship quarter-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

“Muscles torn in the rotary cup have to be repaired,” explained Prendergast. “If I wasn’t a sportsman, they said they might leave it heal with time, but to play sports, it has to be done now.”

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