Ben Jones-Bishop is ready to return to the field after a long fight with illness.
The Wakefield winger has been cleared to play after recovering from blood clotting on his lungs, a condition he feared was going to bring an end to his career.
Jones-Bishop, a prolific try-scorer throughout his career for Leeds, Salford and Trinity, was forced to sit out the start of the season after beginning to feel unwell late last year.
In his first interview since being diagnosed with the illness, he said: “It’s been a struggle, I won’t lie.
“December and January were tough. The first time I didn’t feel right was the week leading into Jamaica playing England Knights. I thought I just had a cold or the flu. The last five or six weeks before that I didn’t train much and I just played. So going into that game I felt off, but I just put it down to not doing much at the back end of the season and in the build-up to the game.
“But the first week of pre-season came and I just struggled, really struggled. I told the physio and the doctor.
“I had gone through it before at Leeds and I knew the symptoms. So I made sure they got me a scan and it confirmed what I’d thought.
“I was gutted, because I thought it would be the end of my career. Long-term I’d planned for the World Cup and would decide on the future after that. I think any athlete wants to end on their terms and I thought that was taken from me.
“It was tough after that. As an athlete you get told a certain time for breakfast, when you start the day and your day is planned for you. Finding a routine is rough. People aren’t as interested in you if you aren’t playing and performing, so yeah, being ill and going through all that, I found it hard to cope with.”
But after a long road to recovery Jones-Bishop is now preparing to help the Wakefield cause this season after answering an SOS from Chris Chester.
“I originally decided I’d take the rest of the year off, and credit to (CEO) Michael (Carter), he was willing to let me do that. But if the boys were struggling with injuries I said I’d put my hand up and play.
“We’ve lost a few bodies so Chezzy (Chris Chester) gave me the call and I’m ready to go.
“Taking the year off would have been best for me, but I didn’t want to leave the club or the boys hanging out to dry. I just asked the question to Michael and Chezzy and I’m ready to play.”
The winger is off-contract at the end of the season and the opportunity to get back on the field is a chance to prove to any potential suitors that Jones-Bishop is still capable of delivering the goods.
“We’ve spoken to some teams. I’ve been about for over ten plus years now and I’ve got to prove I can still do it. It will good to be back out there with the boys and being able to show what I’m about; I’m confident in myself and my ability and I’ve no concerns about getting back to my best.
“I set out on a path and representing Jamaica was unbelievable. It’s been my long-term goal for a while and that still hasn’t changed. Whatever happens next year I’ll be playing somewhere with the goal of being selected for the World Cup. That’s the goal and I’m confident in my ability to wear that jersey again.”
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