Former All Whites goalkeeper Jake Gleeson has filed a $15.6 million lawsuit against two physicians from Major League Soccer's Portland Timbers.
The six-page lawsuit was filed against Dr Richard Edelson and Dr Jonathan Greenleaf over their handling of a shin injury that ended Gleeson's career in 2018.
reports Gleeson, 30, has accused the pair of committing medical negligence and battery, selecting a risky procedure to repair bilateral stress fractures in his tibias, failing to properly sterilise metal implants, and failing to remove one from his right leg when it became infected.
Speaking to the daily newspaper, Gleeson said the botched procedure took his career from him.
"I've had the job that I love more than anything taken from me and a big aspect of my life taken from me," Gleeson said.
"I'm physically not the same. I'm emotionally not the same and I just would like to understand why and how someone could do this. I can't go through my life not telling this story. [I need to bring] attention to this to prevent this from happening to anyone else."
The New Zealand international was signed with the American club from 2011 until he was forced to retire. The Oregonian reports Gleeson developed pain in both shins in 2018 and was diagnosed by Edelson with tibial stress fractures in August that year.
Edelson carried out the required surgery that month which was deemed a success by the team, who predicted he would be sidelined for two months.
However, a second surgery was required on his right leg a month later after Gleeson noticed redness and stiffness on the repaired area. Greenleaf performed a second surgery in which he cleaned the infected area but chose not to remove the metal plate. The plate was removed by Edelson in a third surgery at the end of September 2018, according to the newspaper.
A second surgery on his left leg was needed in October 2018 when that too got infected, and the metal plate was taken out.
Since the initial surgery in August 2018, the Palmerston North native has had a further eight additional surgeries to repair his right tibia, while his left tibia has had one additional surgery since having the metal plate removed.
"The emotional side was absolutely devastating to the point of crippling, battles with pretty severe depression, anxiety, panic attacks," Gleeson said.
"You spend your entire life working so hard and just to have someone take that away from you is something that I haven't been able to understand and deal with very well."