JAMIE Beasley has taken another step on the road to recovery from a horrific facial injury that has left its mark on him in more ways than one.

The Dorchester Town player returned to work as a warehouse operator today, four weeks after suffering a broken cheekbone and damage to his eye socket and jaw against Tonbridge Angels on December 10.

But, as Beasley admits himself, there is still a long way to go before he is able to get back to leading a “normal life” and doing what he loves most – playing football.

Speaking to Echosport for the first time since the incident last month, the midfielder recalled his memories of the sickening collision and talked about the operation he underwent five days later.

He also spoke of the effect his injuries have had on him, both physically and psychologically, and the support he has had from family, friends and the wider community.

“I remember winning the header and then the other guy coming into the side of me,” he said. “I think he was going up for the ball as I was coming down.

“Then I was concussed and it’s a bit of a blur after that so I just go on what people have told me.

“I remember being in the hospital that night and I couldn’t sleep because I was worried about it so much.

“There were lots of things going through my head at that time.

“I went to the hospital in Poole the next day and it hit me hard when I heard what was going to happen with the operation.

“I had three plates put in the side of my face – one in my eye socket, one just below it and another in my cheek.

“The surgeon said the operation was successful and I then had the stitches out on Christmas Eve.

“I’ve got to go back in three weeks for another x-ray and I’ve been told I can then start running again to get my fitness back.”

He continued: “I’m struggling on and I’m slowly getting back to what life was like before.

“It’s had a massive impact on my life and I think it’s going to take a long time to get back playing.

“I’ve been left with a damaged nerve down one side of my nose, which goes into my lip, and I can’t feel that part of my face.

“I’ve been told that could take six to eight months to come back but that it may never come back at all.

“I can’t feel the side of my nose and lip, so it’s hard for me to smile and laugh, and it’s something I’m really aware of.

“And when I play football again there is going to be that doubt when I go up for a header and what could happen.

“I’ve got to try and get over that because I want to get back to doing what I love and that’s playing football.

“I’m taking things day by day and I don’t think I can set a return date because if I do, and it doesn’t happen, then I’ll just be disappointed in myself.”

Beasley hasn’t been short of support during the last few weeks, over what was a difficult Christmas and new year period.

He added: “My family and friends have been excellent and it’s nice having people around that can give me advice.

“I’ve had loads of messages of support from people at the foot-ball club, and they did a collection for me which raised £255, so I’m very grateful for that too.”

* Dorchester Reserves are due to host Moneyfields Reserves in the Wyvern Premier League tomorrow night at the Avenue Stadium (7.45pm).