A FORMER star rugby player and Falklands veteran from the Forest of Dean is on the road to recovery after second hip replacement surgery.

62-year old Gerry Price, an electrical engineer and former fly-half, won England Youth caps, played for Combined Services, the Royal Navy, Lydney and even lined up alongside the famous Pontypool front row.

Wear and tear on his hip took its toll and Gerry received total hip replacement surgery. However, the replacement was unsuccessful after ten years, and he needed a second hip replacement. 

Gerry was referred to leading hip and knee specialist Mr Alan Highcock, based at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral, and underwent a four hour operation to build a new replacement hip joint. 

Mr Highcock said: “It can happen that artificial hip joints wear out so they have to be re-done, and there are very few surgeons in this area who specialise in this complex surgical procedure.  

“His previous joint replacement was pistoning inside the thigh bone, going up and down inside the femur, so I had to take the artificial joint out and redo it, and this revision surgery is more complex.”

Gerry is now eleven weeks into his recovery and is doing 10 kilometres a day on his exercise bike, ten lengths of the swimming pool and walking his dogs for a couple of miles twice a day. 

He said: “I’m at 70 percent right now but in a week or so I will be at 90 per cent. I won’t stop though. I still need to lose half a stone.

“It’s a quality of life thing. When you’re laid up you can’t do the things you want to do and I’ve always been active.

“It was making me a grumpy old git and I was so tired that I’d be nodding off about five or six in the evening.

“But I went to see my doctor ten or 11 months ago and he referred me to Alan and four months later I had the hip redone.

“Ten weeks on from that I’m chuffed to bits with the job Alan has done for me. I can really recommend him.”

Gerry’s recovery has been remarkable, given the severity of his surgery. Mr Highcock said: “Revision surgery is significantly more complex than the initial hip replacement and although the old joint came out easily because it was so worn, the new joint then involved drilling down into the femur, about a 30cm down the thigh bone, and then filling the void around the new hip joint.

“Within a week Jerry was up and walking around. You can tell he’s a sportsman because you can’t hold him back. He was champing at the bit and within a week he was walking around.”

Gerry’s rugby career saw him win four England Youth caps, he played against Australia, Japan and Scotland, and played at Twickenham 13 times for the Navy and Combined Services. 

The electrical engineer’s Navy career in submarines included a tour of duty in the Falklands War on HMS Otus, before leaving the Navy and moving to the Wirral where he played for Birkenhead Park.

Gerry’s surgeon Alan Highcock has practised at Spire Murrayfield Hospital and at Wirral University Teaching Hospital for several years, specialising in lower limb trauma and complex hip and knee surgery.

His work covers all aspects of hip and knee arthritis, including joint preservation surgery, and he has published multiple papers in scientific journals, and presented his work in Europe, North America and the Far East.

More information about Spire Murraryfield Hospital can be found online or on 0151 678 7000.

England youth club against Wales Youth 1980; Gerry Price Middle row first right.
England youth club against Wales Youth 1980; Gerry Price Middle row first right. (Mandy Jones Photography)
Memorabilia from Gerry Price's Rugby career
(Mandy Jones Photography)
Memorabilia from Gerry Price's rugby career
Memorabilia from Gerry Price's rugby career (Mandy Jones Photography)
Navy V's RAF 1984;  Gerry Price during the match.
Navy vs RAF 1984; Gerry Price during the match. (Mandy Jones Photography)