Manchester United today released a statement saying Scottish midfielder Darren Fletcher would be taking an extended break from football.

On behalf of Darren Fletcher, Manchester United wishes to announce that he is taking an extended break from football for health reasons.

Over the past year he has had several absence periods which we have attributed to a viral illness in order to respect his right to medical confidentiality. Darren has, in fact, been suffering from ulcerative colitis (a chronic inflammatory bowel condition) for some time preceding this.

Whilst he was able to maintain remission of symptoms for a considerable period this has proved more difficult recently and Darren’s continued desire to play and his loyalty to both his club and country has probably compromised the chances of optimising his own health and fitness.

He has therefore accepted medical advice to take an extended break from the demands of training and playing in order to afford the best chance possible of achieving full remission once again.

We request that his privacy is respected and hope that the removal of the additional stress associated with speculation regarding his health will also aid his recovery.


Fletcher had made several comebacks since his initial known illness but never looked back to his energetic best. We found this information on ulcerative colitis at www.ulcerativecolitis.org.uk:

Ulcerative colitis is a disease that affects around 120,000 people in the UK and causes inflammation of the large intestine - or colon. Symptoms vary in severity from pain and discomfort, through mucous in the stools to in the most severe cases blood in the stools see the Colitis Symptoms page for more information. It is generally diagnosed by inspection of the colon by a hospital consultant - a colonoscopy.

The underlying cause of ulcerative colitis is still not known - though the disease is associated with dysfunction of the immune system. In the disease the body's own T-cells attack the lining of the bowel - and hence cause it to be inflamed. The body's immune system then takes this inflammation to be a further sign of infection - increasing the immune response - in a vicious cycle. This situation is what people would term a flare-up.

Ulcerative colitis is treated using a variety of medications designed to either directly reduce the inflammation - such as steroids - or to reduce the immune response such a immunomodulators.

Obviously it's not known what Darren Fletcher's personal symptoms are but everyone in football no doubt wishes him all the best in his recovery and let's hope this rest can help him get back to good health. As the illness is often treated with steroids it could be that he wasn't able to have that and play football due to the danger of failing drug tests. 

Steroids are often initially used and it can then be managed without them so there is hope that this isn't such gloomy news and is actually the start of a real recovery.  The full rest will be of benefit and he can concentrate on his health rather than constantly trying to be fit as soon as possible.

By the start of next season we may be seeing a fully fit Darren Fletcher for the first time in a long time.

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First and foremost Darren's health is more important than any contribution he makes to the football of Manchester United and I wish him a quick and stress free recovery. I've got no idea how serious his condition is, from what I've read of this condition (very little) it seems the severity of it varies and none of us really know how badly he is suffering.
Secondly, that's another midfielder out and it sounds long term.
 

Bloody hell. No wonder he wasn't at his best. Poor sod. Hope he gets well soon.

Hope Darren gets well.

Strange illnes he has though.

Seems like he has been carrying it for a year now.

I really feel for Darren Fletcher and wish him all the best of luck for the future, I have been suffering from crohns disease for a number of years which is one form of colitis but a bit worse, I was originally thought to have ulcerative colitis due to the difficulties in determining whether you have CD or UC.  Some diagnosis can take upto 3 years.

There are a handful of symptoms and they all affect you slightly differently but the major (including worst) symptoms are pretty common between them, it's a horrible disease, it's unlikely to kill him or me but there is no cure, only treatment of symptoms and changes in lifestyle that may or may not ease symptoms, some people get lucky and go into remission for years with zero symptoms.

 

http://ibdcrohns.about.com/od/ulcerativecolitis/a/diffuccd.htm

 

The choices of medication aren't great either, steroids or immunsuppressants, plus a couple of others.  Obvious side effects with steroids + you can't take them forever and will need calcium supplements whilst taking the steroids, this is purely to reduce inflammation.

Immunsuppressants have multiple implications, they're the same medication they give to transplant patients to stop them rejecting organs, he will be prone to infections and may well find that they leave him very fatigued and will also put him at a higher risk of cancer.

I hope he has a speedy recovery and his health is more important than Manchester United. However, surly, just surly, we sill sign a midfielder this January! What will it take to sign a midfielder? We have little or no options! Lets dip in the market and sign someone! Also when is Cleverley back? We should also bring Gibson back, would be much better to have him than Pogba or Morrison. 

Seriously Nohlman you can spout that shit about new MF in january on another page,

I was diagnosed with UC when i was 10 unfortunatly i ha a severe case an needed surgery b the time i was 14, surgery is the only cure unfortunatly, obviously with strict drug guidlines in football darren will be unable to play and take the Drugs required hence the timeout, Hope he can avoid surgery even though ive had it for 20yrs life on the bag is no fun

ye it did pal thanks for asking, havnt looked back since, just have to live with an ileostomy bag and the stigma attached to it

Many thanks Anderson :)  colitis in general is a pain in the bum (pun definitely intended) and every single case is different, surgery isn't always necessary for UC and it's very severe if you've reached that point.  Unfortunately, with crohns, I don't have that choice, as it affects the whole of the digestive tract there is no guarantee that it's gone when you remove a diseased part.

I suspect that DC will stand more of a chance than most of decent recovery/remission as he will have the money to get himself right.

As a side note, I wonder how many people are feeling guilty over the amount of stick they've given him recently?  He deserves nothing but praise for being a consumate professional, especially when you consider that his body hasn't been able to take nutrients in properly for some time now and his immune system has been doing it's best to destroy his bowels!

Just goes to show that not all footballers are pampered poodles and they will give above and beyond, he made himself ill for united and the fans.

Woah...that is really horrible news. I hope all goes well and he makes a speedy and full recovery. Fair play to Fletch for trying his best to fight back for club and country during such a difficult period. What a top bloke.

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