DAVID Vaughan has revealed how medical experts were baffled by the injury which scuppered his start to the season.
Vaughan went under the knife during pre-season after suffering a recurrence of an injury described as a hernia problem, that was to rule him out of the opening month of the campaign.
But the Welsh international says he was actually troubled by a trapped nerve in his stomach – a condition that was a first both for Sunderland’s medical team and specialists.
The 29-year-old somehow sustained the injury at the tail end of last season and after rest failed to provide the cure during the summer, he was forced to undergo surgery.
Vaughan told the Echo: “It was a hernia-type of thing, but it was more of a tight nerve in my lower stomach.
“It was a rare injury really and the physios, doctors and even the surgeon had never seen it before so it was a bit unusual.
“No one knows how it came about, but I was carrying it for the last few months of last season.
“I should have tried to get it sorted, but because of the rarity of it, no one knew what to do with it.
“At times, I was aware of it when I was playing, but it’s difficult to pull yourself out when you feel you can still do a job.
“Maybe, I shouldn’t have played as much towards the end of last season, but that’s with the benefit of hindsight.
“We were hopeful that with a bit of rest, it would have sorted out.
“But it didn’t make any difference really so I needed an operation after pre-season started.”
Vaughan was back on Sunderland’s bench against Aston Villa last weekend after starting the Capital One Cup clash against Middlesbrough four days earlier.
But the outcome was the same for the Black Cats on both occasions after Sunderland paid the price for their attacking impotency.
“On the training ground, the players don’t seem to be doing anything different,” said Vaughan.
“Confidence is quite high and it’s just a case of turning training into performances at the weekend. It’s down to the whole team to give our attacking players the opportunities to shine.
“We’ve got players who on their day could win any game for us.
“Maybe they’re struggling a bit at the moment, but I’m sure it will turn around.
“With the squad we’ve got, we should maybe be doing a bit better. But there’s still a long way to go this season and when we hit a bit of form, we should see the side start to do well.”