Today John Kennedy is the highly respected Assistant Manager at Celtic but back when he was just 16 he was the club's rising star and at the age of 20 was called up to play in his first International for Scotland. It was 15 minutes into this game against Romania when a dangerous tackle left him with a devastating knee injury that was to change the course of his career. In this episode of Surgical Goals, John talks candidly about his journey from that moment of tragedy, and the long battle that followed that ultimately led him to where he is today.
In the immediate aftermath of the tackle, John recalls thinking he had broken his leg, but it was to be more complicated than that. Scans showed a complete dislocation of the joint with only his medial ligament left holding it all together. He remembers seeing various medical professionals, including Professor Mackay, but this was 20-years-ago and in the UK treatment for such a severe injury was in its infancy. As it was a more common injury in the US amongst NFL players the club flew John to the world-famous Steadman Clinic in Colorado where Dr Richard Steadman himself carried out the first of many operations on John's knee.
Unfortunately, Dr Steadman explained John would need surgery in stages and that his recovery and rehab would take a long time but, with the help of his club and his ever-supportive family, John describes in detail how he battled on and eventually returned to play, although it was not to last.
In this utterly absorbing episode, John reveals what it's like to be young, to have the sporting world at your feet only to have it all snatched away. But his is not a story of what might have been, it is a story of quiet strength, determination, and ultimately, triumph.