Fortunately, Siem de Jong can see the funny side.
The last four years have seen de Jong suffer two collapsed lungs, a torn thigh and a detatched retina.
De Jong, however, has a sense of humour. When one Twitter user posted a clip of a cartoon character hobbling down the stairs captioned “Siem de Jong walking back into Newcastle’s training ground for pre-season”, he couldn’t help himself.
The 28-year-old laughed. If he didn’t laugh, he’d cry.
“Yeah, I get it,” said de Jong. “My friends are always sending me those kind of pictures and they joke about it. I can joke about it too, but if you look at the injuries then they’re quite serious at the time. Afterwards, though, I can joke about it.”
Much was expected of de Jong three years ago when he signed from Ajax, where he had been captain.
But the technically-gifted forward, a player capable of opening up the most stubborn defences, hasn’t played much football for the club. He was loaned to PSV Eindhoven last season by Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez.
“If you look at the three big injuries I’ve had – two collapsed lungs and my eye – they’ve had nothing to do with football,” said de Jong. “Apart from that, I’ve had one big injury and one operation, and muscle injuries, but that happens to all players.
“For me, sometimes, it’s difficult to explain. I’m trying to keep fit, but those injuries weren’t up to me to prevent.”
De Jong almost lost his sight in one eye after a freak training ground accident in January last year.
My friends are always sending me those kind of pictures and they joke about it. I can joke about it too, but if you look at the injuries then they’re quite serious at the time. Afterwards, though, I can joke about it.Siem de Jong
“It was pretty scary,” said the Holland international. “When I went to the hospital, I couldn’t see out of my right eye. I had to get laser treatment on it.
“It wasn’t just an eye injury, my retina had detached as well. I had to be very careful. It was a strange injury. I was very unlucky.
“It was in training. I was stood behind (Emmanuel) Riviere and he wanted to turn. He tried to hold me back and his finger went straight in my eye, the full force. I was concerned I would lose my sight, especially on that first day.
“After a few hours I got a little bit of blurred vision back. But the first day it was scary. If you can’t see with one eye, you can’t play. Eventually, you would get used to it and you would be able to do almost everything, but I don’t think it would have helped my football.
“I’ve had a lot of tests and it’s all good. I still have blood floating now, and it takes a long time to go away. Sometimes when there’s a lot of light on my eye I can see the floaters, but it will go away.”
De Jong hopes this season will be different. He’s had a lot of minutes on the pitch in pre-season, and he’s shown a few glimpses of the talent that persuaded United to sign him up on a six-year deal.
“I feel OK,” said de Jong. “It’s pre-season. I need to get fit and stay fit. I need to try everything to get stronger and fitter every day.
“I had a good season at PSV. I was only out for two weeks, I trained a lot and played a lot compared to the seasons before that. I have to hope that is all behind me. I need to focus on this season and staying strong and sharp. I’m not there yet, of course, but I need to continue what I started last season.”
De Jong feels he can make a contribution for promoted Newcastle in the Premier League.
“I still feel like I have a lot to give,” he said. “I’m 28. It’s cost me years of my career. I’m at a good age, and I feel better than I ever was, but I need to play and prove myself. I need to get back to playing 40 games a year.
“I feel I can back to same level I was at when I was 24. I feel good, but I need to build it up. You don’t get a lot of time in football to do that. If I stay here and don’t get minutes, then it won’t help me and it won’t help the club.
“I will talk to the manager because I want to prove myself at Newcastle. I still feel I haven’t started here. It bothers me that I haven’t been able to do that. I wish it was different, but I can’t change that now.
“I’m disappointed about my years here until now. I want it to be a different story.”