Ján Bernát: I even cried that day, but I want to come back stronger

We talked with Jan today about his injury, covalescence and plans as well.


When we last spoke almost a year ago, your club KVC just won the 1B belgian league and advanced to the top professional belgian league (Jupiler League). It seemed like you had had a challenging season ahead of you. We were supposed to see you in two duels against Ukraine wearing the U21 representation jersey trying to advance to this year’s Euro. You missed a majority of the season. What happened?

In a league match at the end of August I tore a cruciate ligament in my knee. It’s one of the most serious injuries for an athlete, so unfortunately i was out for most of the season.

The injury was serious, you even needed surgery. How would you rate the healthcare in Belgium?

Yes, I got the surgery the next week in a hospital in Genk. I must say, the doctor who did my surgery was a real professional and he did an excellent job. I still have check-ups with him and the healing prcess seems to be going okay, so I’m satisfied.



Photo credit:  KVC Wessterlo / Jána Bernáta po úraze odvážajú zdravotníci z ihriska.

It couldn’t have been easy when you found out the injury required a longer recovery. How did you cope with this news?

Of course, it was a huge blow since I had a challenging season ahead of me. I even cried that day, but since then I decided to only look forward and work as hard as I can to come back even stronger.

You shared the process of rehabilitation with us on your Instagram. It seems you had high-level care and you excercised frequently. How would you rate it?

It’s true, I had a physiotherapist with me since the beginning of the process, who guides me through every step of recovery and excercises with me almost every day. He also helped a lot psychologically since he had experience with this exact injury and he prepared me for everything that I would be facing during my recovery. I owe a large part of my progress to him.

JB1      JB2

Photo credit: private archive of Ján Bernát / postoperative physiotherapy, strength training

What’s working with the trainer like? I suppose your club has been very supportive.

I certainly get loads of support from my team. They give met he time I need to get back in shape. Sometimes it’s difficult to watch my teammates play from the bench, but it motivates me to work even harder so I can join them as soon as possible.

Have you spend all of your recovery in Belgium so far, or have you been able to come to Slovakia?

I’m recovering in Belgium most of the time, but I was allowed to come to Slovakia for about 10 days twice at the end of last year. Of course, I had an individual plan that I followed.

Are you already involved in training processes with the club?

I’ve recently started training individually on the field, which makes me really happy. Returning to the pitch was very emotional for me after 5 months and it’s a great feeling. There is still some time left before I can train with the team, but I have a lot of catching up to do after such a long time out in terms of fitness and other parameters, so that`s what I`m currently focusing on and it`s the next step towards my return.



Foto zdroj: KVC Westerlo / snapshot from the match

What`s next for your club and how is it currently doing in the top Belgian league?

We are currently fighting for a position in the top 8, which would mean that we can also fight for the European competition. Before the season, the goal was salvation, so I think that our results and performances are at a good level. However, the club wants to keep moving forward, and I like this mentality very much.

When will we next see you in a national team jersey?

I have to go step by step. First of all, it is important that I can return to training and then matches without any serious problems and get in optimal shape. Then I can also think about the national team. I believe it will come, because it is one of my big goals.

How do you like living in Belgium? (some pros or cons)

Life in Belgium is good, I’ve adapted to the environment a long time ago so that’s not a problem at all. There’s a large number of places to visit, so when my family comes to visit it’s very easy to make ourselves busy.

Where do you see yourself in a year or two?

That is a difficult question, but if God wills, I believe that I will be mostly healthy and fulfill some dreams and goals that I have in my career. But for that to happen I have to continue step by step, day by day, and that’s my point of view.


Thank you and we look forward to seeing you play soon!

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