Carl Valentine and Pedro Morales

I think I’m a pretty positive person, but I’d have to say this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

My knees didn’t respond as well as I would have liked after undergoing surgery, so I wasn’t too surprised that my surgeon told me I was booked in for manipulation earlier this month. While this wasn’t as big as having my knees replaced, it still meant I was going to be put under again and have my knees forcefully bent to break up the scar tissue that had formed.

The big day arrived and apparently the manipulation was done in a couple of minutes. Guess that’s what happens when the patient is unconscious and there is no resistance. Upon waking up, I was told that I’d be uncomfortable.

They weren’t kidding.

Can’t say I was ready for the wave of pain that hit me, but luckily there was some heavy pain medication to get that under control.

Within a few hours, I was out of the hospital and on my way home. I was determined to get back healthy as quickly as possible. As an athlete, I had met every challenge head on and won most of them. Although I’m no longer an athlete, I wanted to continue that trend.

That brings me to physio.

I have literally been in physio every single day, including weekends. That might have something to do with the fact that my physio is Nico Berg, who played for me when I coached the 86ers. Guess he’s paying me back for something. Maybe I should have played him more, ha ha.

Joking aside, it’s been a grind.

I think the hardest thing about this rehab is you can go a while without noticing a lot of progress and then all of a sudden you get a big jump. Case in point, it was a process to just be able to ride a bike again. No, I won’t be joining the tour any time soon, but it was a nice feeling.  

I’m also back in the gym – though I was in for a big shock when I got on the elliptical and struggled to last five minutes. Thankfully, I’m getting stronger every day and I finally got to attend my first Whitecaps FC match since my operation this past weekend.  

I can’t tell you how good it was to see everybody and to be back in such a wonderful atmosphere. Obviously, the result was not what we wanted but what a game it was – and to see the whole crowd on their feet for the last 10 minutes sent chills down my spine.

Once again, thank you so much for all your messages of support throughout this process. It means the world. There’s still a long road ahead, but it’s good to be back. 

Whitecaps FC Ring of Honour inductee Carl Valentine is the club's all-time leader in appearances and fourth all-time in goals scored. Currently, Valentine serves as a club ambassador and U-16 Residency assistant coach.