NICKLAS BENDTNER feared he might lose his sight after the injury which broke his eye socket earlier this year, the striker has revealed.
And, as the 24-year-old waited for hours for his sight to return, he also wondered whether his football career itself might in jeopardy.
The Dane, one of Sunderland’s derby-day heroes on Sunday at the Sports Direct Arena, told the Echo that he loved every minute of the Tyneside clash.
But he also admitted that part of him was just relieved to be playing again as his recovery from the facial injury continues.
“I’m glad to be playing again and Sunday was fantastic,” he reflected,
“But I’m glad to be playing at all after the knock – I’m grateful that I didn’t go blind and couldn’t play because it was looking like that for a while.
“I was worried.”
Bendtner was hurt when he was caught by the flying boot of Angel Rangel in the victory over Swansea at the Stadium of Light in January.
The defender raised his foot from behind as he tried to retrieve the ball and although the injury did not look overly serious at the time – Bendtner was able to walk from the pitch with a pad to his eye – the damage to the eye and bone surrounding it could have been disastrous for the on-loan Arsenal man.
He said: “I couldn’t see out of my eye for four hours, five hours and had to be hospitalised overnight as well.
“It’s the first time it has happened to me on a football pitch – something as really serious as that.
“I don’t mind getting kicked because that’s part and parcel of the game.
“You can get away with a broken nose, or broken jaw – that will heal.
“But your eyes. They are the most important thing.
“And when I realised what had happened, my first thought was: ‘Jeez. I’m blind!’
“At first, I couldn’t open the eye or see out of it at all.
“Eventually, when I could open the eye, all I could see was redness, so it was a real worry – wondering if that would go away.
“The medical staff did really well. They got an eye specialist in straight away and I needed injections in the injury to settle things down.
“It was not good.
“I feared the worst – if you can only use one eye your career is finished.
“His toe hit me straight in the eye, which is what caused all the problems.
“The mask enables me to play though now and I’m glad that I did because scoring in the derby on Sunday was a special moment in what was one of the most intense matches of my career.”