'32 pills a day': injured McCullough's long road to recovery
BRISBANE star Andrew McCullough has provided an insight into the emotion surrounding his season-ending knee injury, and the brutal reality behind his journey back to the field.
One of the game's most consistent and arguably underrated players, McCullough's 2017 season was cut short when his leg buckled under teammate Adam Blair during a clash with Parramatta in July.
His worst fears were confirmed when scans revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament, meaning surgery and a lengthy rehab that will likely impact his 2018 campaign as well.
In a column penned for playersvoice.com.au, McCullough described the pain he felt when the doctor confirmed the injury, and the phone calls he had to make to his parents and his fiance Carlie.
"We're getting married at Elements in Byron Bay in January. Now, as well as organising everything for the big day, she was going to have to inject anti-blood clot medication into my stomach, help me in and out of the shower and who knows what else," McCullough wrote.
"I just felt ... I don't know. Empty? Angry? Sad? I haven't got the right word.
"The weather was getting warmer. The crowds were getting bigger. My defence was good and my attacking game improving and I felt like I was playing the best footy of my career. And then - gone. All in a moment."
McCullough also gives an astonishing insight into the pain and stress that goes on behind the scenes when a professional athlete suffers a serious injury.
He revealed the crazy amount of medication required for his lengthy rehabilitation.
"The doctor gave me a bag - like a big bloody Coles bag - of tablets to take. Panamax. Endone. Tramadol. There's a few I can't remember," McCullough wrote.
"It was eight tablets in one set, taken four times a day. That's your blood clot, pain, everything. It was around 32 pills a day plus an injection from Carlie once a night for the first 10 days. They were for blood clots."
McCullough has started keeping a diary to vent his emotions and keep track of the journey back to football.