CAPTAIN Matt Cripps has vowed to stay positive after reflecting on the horrific moment he broke he leg while playing for Brightlingsea Regent.

The long-serving skipper shattered his right tibia during the early stages of a BetVictor Isthmian League premier division contest against Worthing.

He now has his leg in a full cast and may not play again in 2020.

Cripps admits the setback is a bitter pill to swallow and taking time to adjust to.

However, he is trying to stay upbeat and has already been back to watch his team-mates in action at the Taydal Stadium.

"Initially, it was hard to take," said the former FC Clacton and Stanway Rovers man.

"An injury like this affects every aspect of your life, not just football.

"It makes a difference at home and work and everyday jobs like walking the dog - things you take for granted - suddenly become an issue.

"Luckily, the company I work for have been supportive and I'm doing lots at home, to keep my brain ticking over.

"But it changes everything.

"The actual tackle that led to the injury was innocuous.

"We both went for the ball and it was sheer bad luck.

"I heard a loud snapping noise and, at first, thought it was my shin pad.

"Then when I tried to stand up, and put weight on my leg, the pain shot up my body. It was horrendous.

"Luckily my dad and (physiotherapist) Rob Earle were at the ground and they drove me to Clacton hospital.

"An x-ray revealed I'd broken my right tibia.

"My leg's in a full cast now, rather than one that only came halfway up my leg, to give me more stability and hopefully speed up the recovery process.

"I was given the option of having an operation but the doctors warned me there could be complications, now and in the future.

"It's not something I considered and I'd rather wait for my leg to heal naturally.

"It's a waiting game and I'm going to have to be patient but it's better to let nature take its course.

"It's going to be tough but these things happen. It is what it is."

Colchester-based Cripps is resigned to the fact he may not play again until Christmas.

He expects to have to wear the cast for nine to 12 weeks.

Then he will need a lengthy period to rest, recover and regain fitness.

"Realistically, I could be out for the best part of a year and may not be back around Christmas," said the 26-year-old, who works for AMC Prestige Cars, in Manningtree.

"It's hard to say because I've never experienced anything like this before.

"I've had hamstring and back injuries before but nothing on this scale.

"I can still do a few exercises to try and stay fit, working on my upper body and other leg.

"But I can't rush anything and have to make sure I'm mentally right, as well as physically ready.

"I hope it won't affect me when I'm back playing but, in all honesty, I won't know until the time. It's hard to say at this stage.

"I've watched a couple of games since suffering the injury and it's nice to get out of the house.

"It's hard watching rather than playing, knowing I can't do anything to help.

"I'm pleased the boys have started picking up points and I'll be there as much as I can supporting them and the management team.

"It looks like they've turned a corner.

"Kem (Izzet) is doing things his way and it's starting to pay off.

"If we carry on playing as we have in the last few weeks, hopefully we'll pick up enough points to avoid relegation."