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2012-11-10T07:44:00 Updated 2015-02-19T01:42:05

Kelley on the mend

Recently, the West Ham United first team lost Ricardo Vaz Te to a dislocated shoulder injury. While the Hammers attempt to continue their impressive league form without the Portuguese forward, the West Ham United Ladies are still without their own star striker in Kelley Blanchflower, who broke her collarbone two months ago.

Blanchflower was hurt when she fell awkwardly during an FA Women's Premier League Southern Division match at Queens Park Rangers on 9 September. Unlike Vaz Te, the level of pain she felt when injured did not give away the serious nature of her injury.

"At first I was in no pain, I just felt uncomfortable but I knew something didn't feel right," the 19-year-old recalled. "Luckily, I didn't hear the bone crack. I rolled over and touched my shoulder and straight away I knew it was broken. I could feel a lump protruding the skin. The physio was bought on and an ambulance was called immediately.

"Fortunately for me there was a paramedic on site, so unfortunately for the girls I cost them a 45-minute half-time. He gave me gas and air for the pain and I don't remember much else after that."

Blanchflower has recently returned to light training. While she is on the mend, it has been a frustrating time as moving back to university to continue her studies has delayed her rehabilitation.

"Having to move back to university has been a setback in the treatment stage because I am now living without my parents and being predominantly right-handed, I'm being put in situations where I have to use my arm, even though I shouldn't do so. I don't really have a choice.

"I had to re-register with a GP in my university town and start from the bottom of the list before I could receive any treatment. I do now fortunately have my first physiotherapy appointment booked, so it goes to show how good the men's team get it when they are injured!"

The former Arsenal Ladies Academy player understands the pain that Ricardo Vaz Te would have been in when he got injured in the Premier League match against Arsenal. However, despite both being shoulder injuries, she can see differences between the two.

"Although both are shoulder injuries, I don't believe they're in the same category. There's no doubting he must have been in a lot of pain but the damage that was caused is totally different. He would have done more soft-tissue damage around the joint like his nerves, muscles and tendons, whereas mine is bone and partially my pectoral muscle.

"We were both unlucky enough to need surgery when in most circumstances, neither injury usually does. I never want to experience pain like that again like I suffered during my first three weeks.

"I had open surgery, which meant having a titanium plate fitted with seven screws and a nice four-inch scar to go with it, which also added to the healing process. The saving grace is that Vaz Te has the possibility of his dislocated shoulder reoccurring, whereas once mine is healed, the bone is reinforced."

Like Vaz Te, Blanchflower had started the 2012/13 season in fine form, scoring once in her first three league appearances. She hopes both can return to action for their respective sides soon.

"There's no doubt his injury is severe and I have a lot of sympathy for him. I wish him the speediest recovery and I'm sure we'll both be back for the Hammers and scoring goals for fun."

Stoke City

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