Masked England star blinded by head injury won’t give up on Commonwealth gold

England hockey star Sam Ward has claimed he feels “invincible” as he eyes a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.

The 31-year-old suffered life-changing facial injuries after being hit in the face by a shot from team-mate Harry Martin back in 2019. It resulted in Ward losing sight in his left eye while having four plates and 31 screws inserted.

But the horrific scarring did not prevent the Old Georgians forward from making a heroic return to the sport. In fact, the Leicester-born star came back to become Team GB’s five-goal top-scorer at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as they narrowly missed out on a podium.

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He did so while sporting a black protective mask, which he reportedly said makes him feel even more unstoppable in a stunning revelation.

Ward told The Sun : “It was a big step to get back on the pitch after that injury. But all athletes are wired differently or they wouldn’t achieve what they have.

“I’m probably wired even more differently — you would probably say I’m just a bit stupid really. Getting back on the pitch was massive.

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“If I hadn’t come back and played as before, with bravery, I would be a waste of space and not worth my place in the side.

“I wanted to come back and give it the full hog. If anything the mask makes me feel a bit invincible and probably more stupid.”

Ward is ready to win another medal to match the last bronze he took in 2018 after beating India, though he knows it will not be an easy task. England face a challenging road ahead with the likes of Australia, Pakistan and India all involved in the tournament, while they face Ghana in Friday’s opener.

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