Wisla Kraków midfielder Konrad Gołoś says he is ready to start enjoying his "second life in football" after having required a year out of the game to recover from Lyme disease.
The 26-year-old is back practising with the Polish titleholders and will return to first-team duties when he is back to full fitness, a situation he feared would never come about when first he began to feel ill while on loan with Górnik Zabrze last spring. "I went through hell as I wasn't sure I could return to football," he told uefa.com. "That would have been a huge disaster because it's my big love and passion. Hopefully the worst is behind me now."
Capped three times by Poland, Gołoś noticed something was wrong when he began feeling weak but admits he "went on training". "I even played some games with a heavy fever, but I didn't speak to the club doctor as I didn't want to start my career at Górnik telling them something was wrong with me," he recalled. "I thought I could deal with it. When the situation became really serious, they did some tests which found nothing."
Luckily, a friend suggested he undergo tests for Lyme disease and the player was shocked when the results came back positive. "The illness is caused by ticks, but I had no idea where and when I'd been bitten," he explained. The news soon had him researching the condition on the internet. "When I read and then heard from a doctor that I may not play again, I felt totally depressed," he added.
"But then I found out that two famous players – Czech Karel Poborský and Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger – had also been ill but managed to win the battle. I even tried to contact Schweinsteiger through his website but didn't succeed. Anyway, when I was really depressed I thought about their battle and told myself it's possible to deal with it."
On the contractual front, he returned from his loan spell and Wisła happily took on the expense of paying for his treatment in Poland and Germany. "The club treated me very well; the coach and the players told me millions of times they were waiting for me," he recalled. "It really was a big relief, knowing how many people were still counting on me."
'Don't give up'
Tests earlier this year declared him clear of the disease but, for Gołoś, the recovery process will only be complete when he returns to competitive action. "I can't imagine not being able to play anymore," he said. "
For me, a day without football is a day lost. That's why I was so desperate to win this battle. I did it and want to tell others – don't give up when you have to fight. Don't give up your dreams easily."
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