The fact that Boys Under 16 of Rood-Wit made it to the semi-finals of the Dutch National Championships is remarkable in itself. But for defender Quirijn van der Loo (15), this blistering end to the season has a special touch. He was sidelined for almost a year because growing pains made it impossible for him to play hockey.

He still remembers it like it was yesterday. Halfway through last season things went wrong for Quirijn, who was then a first-year B-junior. ‘Suddenly my knee hurt enormously. I tried to walk through it, but soon couldn’t. At first I thought it would go away with rest, but it didn’t. A physiotherapist gave me painkillers. That helped a bit, but running was still painful.’

Rood-Wit’s talent ended up in a medical mill. Went to another physio for a second opinion. That’s where the term growing pains first came up. More precisely, Osgood-Schlatter disease. ‘A form of growing pain, which arises because your muscles grow faster than your bones. The pain is felt below your knee and is so intense that walking is sometimes even difficult. Let alone running or sprinting.’

Rood-Wit JO16- 1 competes, with Quirijn van der Loo, for a place in the final of the National Championships Youth. Photo: Sander Heeroma
Rood-Wit JO16- 1 competes, with Quirijn van der Loo, for a place in the final of the National Championships Youth. Photo: Sander Heeroma

Walking was horribly painful

It turns out to be an ailment that occurs more often among adolescents, especially boys. The diagnosis was thus made after several uncertain weeks. But it was completely unclear how long Quirijn was out of the running. “It could be over in a month. But there was also a chance that it would take two years.’

In the end, it took almost a year before he completely rejoined his teammates. It was a difficult time for the vwo student. ‘Sometimes I participated in a training or competition for fifteen minutes, but then I was already too bothered. I always kept coming to the club, but more and more often with a gloomy face. It was difficult to stand outside in normal clothes while I watched my teammates train hard and have fun on the field. Especially on the days when even walking was horribly painful.’

After the summer he continued to struggle, now in his second year in the Under 16. ‘Again we made it to National, but the first few months I still only participated occasionally. Until one day, a few weeks before winter break, the pain was gone overnight. As if nothing had ever bothered me. A liberation. It was so wonderful to be able to play normally again after all those months of uncertainty and ailments.’

Quirijn in action in the quarterfinals against Den Bosch. Photo: Sander Heeroma
Quirijn in action in the quarterfinals against Den Bosch. Photo: Sander Heeroma

Highlight in club history

‘I regularly see Quirijn’s injury as a coach of youth teams,’ says Maarten Bosman, who is ultimately responsible for Rood-Wit Onder 16. ‘As soon as I hear a player about pain under the knee, my alarm bells ring. I always recommend a check by a physiotherapist. He also has better insight into the load capacity of someone with such an injury than I do. As a coach you can only take a player’s signals seriously. The strange thing is that the pain disappears completely at an unpredictable moment. In any case, we are happy that Quirijn is fit again. Not only because he adds value to the team, but especially because there is nothing more annoying than being sidelined with an injury.’

Fortunately, that time is now over for the central defender. In fact, he and his team can prepare themselves for the crème de la crème of Dutch youth hockey. On Saturday afternoon, Rood-Wit will face Amsterdam in their own Aerdenhout. A highlight in club history. Quirijn: ‘It was already very cool that we were in the quarter finals. Against Den Bosch we fell 0-2, but fought back to 2-2. We ended up winning on shoot-outs. The fact that we, as a relatively small family club, can now compete in the semi-finals against one of the largest clubs in the Netherlands is absolutely amazing. And I give us a good chance. Individually we may not be the best, but as a team we go through fire for each other. We have already proven that you can get far with that.’

The more it talks about Saturday, the more enthusiastic he gets. “I’m so happy to be able to play again. That we can now close this season like this and that I am completely fit again, I would not have dared to dream in the summer.’

by Hockey.nl

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