The new Dumbarton centre-back has recently moved down to part-time level. With a lighter training schedule, Craig Barr hopes this has cured his injury hell. Speaking to jordanburtfootball.com on Wednesday, the 30-year-old spoke of his heartbreak at the way his time at Starks Park unfolded.
Barr suffered a knee injury in his first season with the Kirkcaldy side before suffering pelvic issues the following term.
“It was knee fragments, as well as a tidy-up operation, so that wasn’t ideal and I was sidelined for 7 or 8 months. That then turned into trouble with my pelvis. The first three quarters of the season wasn’t ideal but in that final quarter, I was playing week-in, week-out and as a professional footballer, that is what you want to be doing. I did feel that I had overcame my injury and was looking forward to starting afresh and playing more regularly. The second season was again unfortunate. I got an injury called Osteitis Pubis. A lot of people within the footballing injury know of this and it isn’t an injury you would like to get: there was no operation for it. It was more wait and see how it goes; train and if it is sore, hold back a little bit and you just need to keep going, gauging it and monitoring it and you have just got to hope it heals. It is difficult – when you get an operation, the surgeon will say “you will be out for X amount of time” and it keeps you focused on getting back fit – there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Whereas, with this injury, I was coming back and then I would get pain so I was resting it and I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, to be honest. I managed to work hard and get back for the final few months of the season again and that is pretty good as I know people within the game who have been out much longer. I have tried my hardest not to dwell on the injury and tried to be positive.”
Having fought back for a second time, Barr received a hat-trick of blows with another early season injury forcing him to sit through games in the stand, rather than on the pitch.
“As a player, training day-in, day-out, is your livelihood. Going in for rehab and recovery is fine as that is your job but when you sit in the stand on a Saturday afternoon and you are watching games week-in, week-out; you can’t help them out, you aren’t there with them to celebrate when you are winning, it is hard. You aren’t feeling the euphoria they do. Last season, we started well until maybe November or December but from January onwards, it was an uphill struggle. I took part in the final few months again and it wasn’t nice on or off the park. It is still disappointing till this day with what happened, to be honest. I still find it hard to take. As you get older, in any walk of life, you get a different outlook on things. In my three years at Raith, I got married at the end of my first season; had a kid the end of the second and then moved house this summer so, these are three big points in my life and this gave me an outlook of looking for things after football, off the pitch. As doom and gloom as the injuries was, my life off the pitch was good and it was just trying to gel these two together to get a hapyy medium.”
Barr has now went part-time, after signing with Championship side, Dumbarton.
“Going part-time was a big step for me; it is an unfamiliar situation for me as for the majority of my career, I have been full-time. Now, when I leave training, my body can recover better; I can perform at a better level now and can become more consistent. It will hopefully stop me picking up the wee knocks I have done over the past couple of years which has held me back. Apart from the way it ended, I enjoyed my time at Raith. The fans were great and despite my injuries, were always asking if I was OK and were generally quite supportive of me. That is the thing, to be honest, which haunts me: the way my time there has ended. I could’ve maybe stuck it out and tried to get them back up into the Championship, or even have kept them in the Championship. The support from the fans was genuinely appreciated and that is why it hurts me so bad – that I couldn’t 1. repay them or 2. get a full season under my belt considering the club paid for my operations and the fans and chairman always persevered with me despite my injuries.”