Dean Ashton

Dean Ashton

"John, cant thank you enough for all the hours your have put in, you have been a top physio and a great friend!" says Deans signed shirt.
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"What happened to Dean?"  I get asked this a lot. People are surprised when they realise that we are friends still - I think the assumption is that I was responsible for Dean giving up.

Dean and I first worked together prior to the 2006 Cup Final when he had a tear of his hamstring, whilst playing for West Ham United.  Dean attended my clinic, twice a day, prior to the Cup Final.  Dean scored in this very important match.

West Ham were undone by Steven Gerrard in the end, but it was still the best Cup Final in years!

At the beginning of the 2006-2007 season whilst on International duty with England, Dean suffered a fractured ankle in a training incident.

Dean had surgery and began his rehabilitation at the football club. Dean contacted me with concerns about his ankle at Christmas time 2006.

I referred Dean to James Calder the Foot & Ankle Consultant, who had to perform another operation on Deans ankle. Alan Pardew had now been relieved of his managership role at West Ham. Alan Curbishley had not yet taken up his post, so this left Dean with no Club medical team to aid his recovery.

Dean and I did the whole of his rehabilitation, working together everyday. Dean scored in every pre-season game he took part in.

That season, he scored 15 goals - most notably the overhead kick against Manchester United and Dean also returned to the England squad. Dean played his debut and only England game against Trinadad.

During the summer, Dean and I worked together in Vale Do Lobo along with Kieron Dyer and Craig Bellamy.

The 2007-2008 season - Dean started on fire, scoring 2 goals in the opening game against Wigan.

Later that season, Dean began to get arthritic pain in his ankle.  After another operation with the world-renowned ankle Specialist Nick Van Dyke, we attempted to rehabilitate Dean again.

Unfortunately, Dean continued to suffer from a great deal of pain and stiffness. This was so severe that Dean took the decision to retire from football following a painful conversation with Mr Van Dyke and also James Calder.

Dean had no choice but to retire in order to avoid being crippled with arthritis. James Calder performed an ankle fusion on Dean to prevent any further movement at his ankle, and therefore avoid continued degeneration.

Dean can now function without pain but he could never run again.

This was the saddest time I have ever experienced in football. No-one has ever worked harder to get fit and Dean is the complete professional and a great friend.