Crystal Palace Under-15s coach and former Academy player Lewis Bryon opened up on the knee surgeries he underwent as a young Academy prospect and how he has recovered from them since.
The former Academy midfielder has been at Palace since the age of eight and has progressed through the ranks in the Academy. He earned a professional contract at the age of 17 and had previously impressed at Under-18s level.
Despite his progress at youth level, Bryon had been plagued by knee problems which resulted in him having multiple surgeries; missing more than three years of his early career.
“It started off over time, with my knees.” He explained. “The pain started to come on as I was running and loading, then as I played more games it got worse and worse.
“It got to a point where, two months into my Under-13s season, I had to stop. At the time I thought it would’ve just been a couple months and I would’ve been back, but the months went on and on and I was actually out for just shy of three years.
“I missed almost all of the U13s season, all the Under-14s, 15s and was eventually fit again for the Under-16s pre-season.”
Though he was out for such a prolonged period of time, Bryon came back and performed exceptionally well for the U16s and earned a two-year scholarship. Unfortunately he suffered knee problems early on in his scholarship and missed another ten months.
After recovering once more, he played the last few months of the Under-18s campaign and managed to earn a professional contract. He was playing on and off, before the problems started to affect him again.
He had surgery on his right knee in early 2020 and then on his left knee in the summer of 2020. Following both of his surgeries, he managed to build back the strength in his knees to make it back out onto the pitch before the end of the year.
Whilst he was out, he took up coaching and earned a UEFA B License last season. Bryon is a coach of the U15s and helped them on their way to winning the U15 Floodlit Cup National Final.
"You have a lot of spare time when you're injured. So I started doing coaching about two or three years ago and I got my UEFA B License last year. I currently coach the U15s at the Academy.
“It’s a few nights a week and on the weekend as well. I’ve also started doing commentaries for the U18 and U21 games on Palace TV+ and also interviewing some of the players.
“Being out for that long, you need to think about other avenues, either if I need to do it early I can make a cross into the media world, or if I get back into playing I can still go into it afterwards. You need to have options and that’s where I see myself going after my career.”