Referee Mark Halsey’s road to recovery

Referee Mark Halsey got cancer … and beat it. I got the chance to meet him personally and wrote some tips from him below.

The crowd of referees was silent when Halsey told his personal story at the referee conference in Dublin. He told us about the moment he heared he got throat cancer and how he recovered from it. “It’s amazing what you can achieve”, he says with a smile. Want to read the full story of his recovery?  Then get is book Added Time: Surviving Cancer, Death Threats and the Premier League.

Me and referee Mark Halsey during the conference.

Me and referee Mark Halsey during the conference.

Halsey pointed out 5 characteristics that helped him get back on the pitch again. These things are not just things you need when you get very ill. You will need these characteristics as well to reach the top as match official in any sport.

Referee Mark Halsey’s 5 characteristics

  1. Dedication
  2. Positivity
  3. Determination
  4. Hard work
  5. Enjoyment

It was a Thursday. Just a few days before Everton – Arsenal, the first game of the 2009-2010 season, when referee Mark Halsey heared he got cancer. “I had to come in on Monday to take it out, the doctor told me.” Halsey tought it would be his last game as a referee. After a second series of chemo the doctor told him the cancer was gone. From then on he was determined “to go back into the game”.

Halsey showed a video of how he was after receiving chemo therapy (embedded it on bottom of this post as well). He had to go a long way to be top fit again, but with dedication and the idea he could really do it, he worked for days in the gym. “But I pushed myself far too fast”, Halsey says. He failed for the first fitness test. “I never failed one before. I didn’t even phone my wife I didn’t pass.”

He worked even harder and the second time he passed. “There wer lots of tears.” Tears of enjoyment. His first game after he had to quit in 2009 was between Leicester City’s reserves team and Scunthorpe United’s reserves. Almost a year after he got the horrible news he was back in the Premier League again with a game between Wigan Athletic and Blackpool.

These five characteristics brought referee Mark Halsey a lot. His advice: “If you want to reach your goals, you can achieve everything if you have set your mind to it.”

Got inspired by his story? Then get his book Added Time: Surviving Cancer, Death Threats and the Premier League on Amazon. That gives you an interesting read and if you click the links in this post Amazon will sponsor my blog with a small amount of money.

More from Referee Conference in Dublin

7 lessons from David Coldrick for referees in all sports.

Also worth watching is the movie “Referee Mark Halsey’s road to recovery”.

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