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Jesse Ryder recovered from a severe head injury and served a six-month ban for testing positive for banned drugs © Getty Images

Oct 20, 2013

New Zealand’s star player Jesse Ryder is all set to return to competitive cricket after recovering from a severe head injury and serving a six-month ban for testing positive for doping. The 29-yeal-old will return to field during the First-Class match for Otago against Wellington, his former team.

Ryder was in induced coma for three days after being struck on the head outside a Christchurch bar earlier this year.

 “After this year, you could probably say that I’ve been through the worst things you could go through, for my career at least anyway. The drug thing that could have been my career over if I’d been given a two-year ban, which had been a possibility,” Ryder was quoted as saying by Fairfax Media.

“Then with what happened in Christchurch, that too could have easily been the end of it for my career. I wouldn’t look at it like I’ve been given a second chance at life. I’m just lucky, I guess,” he said. 

During his recovery at a hospital at Christchurch, Ryder was informed about testing positive for a banned substance. As a result he was handed a six-month ban. Ryder said that he had researched about the weight-loss supplement on internet and had sought advice before consuming it. This statement was considered by the New Zealand’s anti-doping authorities before announcing the ban.

“You do all the research and you find there is nothing wrong with the product. The one mistake I made was that I didn’t ask Drug Free Sport New Zealand about the product. But if I had asked them, they would have basically said they couldn’t find anything wrong with the product but that taking it could be a risk,” said Ryder.

Ryder’s biggest threat was recovering from the life-threatening injury. He regained consciousness towards the end of March 2013 but couldn’t remember anything about the incident.

“At first, I just couldn’t walk properly. My balance was just so off and I was struggling to walk and the weakness was crazy. Just walking to the bathroom and back, I’d be breathless, you know, taking in big, deep breaths. It took ages to get back to normal. After being told what happened, you start thinking a bit. I mean, we’ve all heard the stories of guys hitting their heads and dying after being punched and falling to the ground. I look back and think I am lucky not to be dead,” he said.