Liam Highfield has opened up about his battle with Crohn’s disease, an illness he’s had to deal with for the majority of his spell on the Main Tour.
The 31 year-old Englishman first turned professional in 2010 and soon began to experience regular symptoms that initially hampered his progression on the circuit.
But after struggling to make an impact at the beginning, Highfield is now producing some of the most consistent form of his career and reached a world rankings high of no.40 in December.
“I was always quite ill in my early years as a pro,” Liam Highfield told Michael McMullan on the latest episode of the World Snooker Tour podcast.
“I was never that open about it back then, I never really knew what was up. I used to get very fatigued and very tired, and the travelling for the PTCs used to really take it out of me.”
“I’d come back from those events and spend a week in bed after that, and I could never understand why. I just thought that maybe it was the stress of the tour.
“But it wasn’t, and it came about when I was about 23 or 24 that I got diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I spent quite a long time over the years in hospital.
“I lost a lot of weight and stuff like that, but now I’ve got some answers with my health. It seems as if I’ve got over the Crohn’s and obviously gone on to be a much better player with it than I was not knowing.
“I’m on medication, I go in every eight weeks and have it in the hospital. That keeps my immune system from attacking itself with the Crohn’s.
“As long as I do that, I try and stay healthy, try and run, try and eat healthily – I still try and enjoy myself, because with the stress of snooker you need a release, so from time to time I go out and have a party like everyone else – but I know that it’s there for life.
“Day-to-day I don’t really think about it now, but it is something that I suppose is in the back of your mind. It makes you appreciate the good days, I think.
“Fatigue is the main one with me, I struggle with tiredness if I get a little bit rundown, I get a lot more colds and pick up little things.
“But generally I’m quite well, and I think that’s down to running. Over the years I’ve always kept myself fit and gone to the gym, and I’m vegetarian so that’s seemed to have helped over the last couple of years.
“My diet has improved, and as a result I’m less tired and the Crohn’s has less impact on my general well-being.”
Former ranking event quarter-finalist Highfield takes on Fan Zhengyi in the last 32 of the German Masters on Thursday in Berlin.
Featured photo credit: WST