on the mend | 

Richie Sadlier thanks Dublin’s Mater Hospital staff as he recovers from spinal surgery

'Big hugs to all the staff taking such good care of me here in the @materprivate.. Recovering really well so far x'
Richie says he is recovering well

Richie says he is recovering well

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

Former professional footballer Richie Sadlier has praised staff at Dublin’s Mater Hospital for taking good care of him as he recovers from spinal surgery.

The popular sports pundit took to Twitter this morning to say he is recovering well from surgery while posting a picture of himself in a wheelchair.

“Spinal fusion surgery is a right laugh,” he wrote. “Big hugs to all the staff taking such good care of me here in the @materprivate. Recovering really well so far x.”

Dozens of fans and friends have wished Richie well in the comments section, with one saying, “Speedy recovery Richie!! I’m gona place 20 quid on you winning the 2024 Masters."

“Good man Richie, get well soon! I just bought your autobiography after looking at the reviews. Really looking forward to reading it. And have a great weekend,” adds another.

Richie, who is best known for his career as a professional footballer and as a regular analyst on the RTÉ Sports Panel, is also a practising psychotherapist.

His playing career was cruelly ended by injury and he detailed some of his subsequent personal battles in his best-selling autobiography, Recovering, which won the 2019 Irish Sports Book of the Year.

He also recently spoke to musician Bressie about his struggles with his mental health and how retirement affected him “quite severely”.

“I was completely heartbroken,” he admitted. “I genuinely thought I was nothing without football and I was afraid everyone else would realise it too.

“I was full of self-pity and really, really angry. I was miserable too and spent a lot of time crying (in private, obviously). I let myself get into really bad physical shape because I had completely stopped training and my diet was awful. That did nothing for my self-esteem.”

He also revealed how he was “in constant physical pain” that “took its toll on my mood too”.

“I didn’t want to be around footballers anymore so I started to pull away from a lot of my mates which didn’t help. I started to resent them for still being able to play football and then I’d beat myself up for thinking that way. My outlook on the future was fairly hopeless and I was full of what-ifs and regrets about the past.

“My head was a fairly bleak place to be in back then. I was totally unprepared for how difficult the whole thing would be,” he added.

“And for some reason I convinced myself that nobody would want to listen to a former footballer complain about anything so I generally acted as if I was doing okay if anyone asked. Things started to improve a little as soon as I went to a therapist but it was a long road back.”

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