Darlington winger Arran Wearmouth is the model of defiance after an operation to reconstruct his anterior cruciate ligament threatened to wipe out his first season with the club.
The twenty four year old put the frustration of missing out on promotion from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League with former club Blyth Spartans behind him when he joined the Quakers in June.
That brought an end to a three year stay at Croft Park, with Wearmouth joining the club that pipped them to the league title in an epic title battle last season.
With Darlington moving back to their home town for the first time in four years and a host of impressive signings, Wearmouth seemed set to take his career to the next level.
However that has been put on a hold after a surgeon suggested that an injury suffered in the closing stages of last season would require his anterior cruciate ligament in his left leg to be reconstructed.
And the former Middlesbrough academy man admitted that he struggled to come to terms with the diagnosis.
He said “When I first went to see the surgeon I don’t think I had my head round the injury and was still probably thinking he worst because of it.
“The surgeons confidence when I was speaking to him reassured me completely and he said that without any complications I could be back actually playing in around seven months.
“After the operation he came to see me and I asked how it had went and his reply was ‘perfectly’ so that is the first big hurdle out the way”
So the long road to recovery and rehabilitation begins and it seems to be a common opinion that the operation will see Wearmouth miss the entirety of the 2016/17 season.
That opinion isn’t one that is shared by Wearmouth as he expressed his determination to get back playing before the end of the season.
“I am definitely not ruling this season out completely! Like I said the surgeon, who everyone I’ve spoke to has said is he best around for this op, said seven months so that has to be the target.
“Realistically I know it won’t be as simple as that and there is a lot of hard work and rehab for me to go through but that is he target in my mind”
In his time with former club Spartans, Wearmouth showed flashes of the early promise that persuaded Tom Wade and then-assistant Colin Myers to take the winger to Croft Park from Northern League club Bishop Auckland.
His form last season led to interest from Darlington, with Martin Gray trying to sign the winger before the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League transfer deadline in March.
That offer was rebuffed by Spartans, but Gray had more luck at the end of the season as Wearmouth chose to end his spell with the Northumberland outfit and join the newly-promoted Quakers.
And he paid tribute to his new manager for his reaction after he was given the news that one of his summer signings faced a long spell on the sidelines.
He said “Darlington and Martin Gray in particular have been great with me.
“I was absolutely devastated when I was given the news. It was the last thing I was expecting so to be given the support I have has really helped me”
“I’ve settled well even with the injury and that’s thanks to all the lads and coaching staff making me feel welcome and keeping me involved.
“It’s hard when you are not involved in the games and the training sessions.
“But I’ve still been to the training and a couple of the games and that has made me determined to get back as soon as possible”
The long road to recovery starts now for Wearmouth but his determination to make a comeback with the Quakers this season is clear to see.
If his healing is a strong as his determination then you wouldn’t rule out seeing him in black and white before the end of the new season.