National team footballer Meshach Wade is determined to return to the pitch after suffering career-threatening injuries in a bike accident.

The 36-year-old player and coach - who has been a national team stalwart for nearly 20 years - crushed his left leg as he lost control of his bike and crashed into a wall.

He broke his hip and dislocated his knee in the accident as he was travelling east on Middle Road, near the junction with Leeson Lane, in Devonshire at about 11:15pm last Friday.

But Mr. Wade has been described as a "real fighter" as he battles to regain his health at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

It is thought he will have to remain in hospital for up to three weeks with his leg in traction.

Mr. Wade is refusing to give up on his successful footballing career, which saw him playing in the Bermuda side that beat Trinidad & Tobago in a World Cup Qualifier last summer.

The father-of-three from Smith's is determined to make a full recovery with friends saying he remains in high spirits being his "normal jokey and bubbly self."

Mr. Wade briefly spoke to the Bermuda Sun from his hospital bed yesterday, saying: "I'm good, I feel real good."

Scott Morton, who recently replaced Mr. Wade as coach at the Dandy Town Hornets, said: "It's hard for him having to lie in a hospital bed, he usually eats and breathes football, that's what he lives for, that's his life.

"We're all hoping he can pull through and make a full recovery. He's a fighter and has always put in the hard work; he is not about to give up.

"The main priority at the moment is for him to get better and to get back on his feet.

"It's not about football, football will have to be secondary, its about getting him getting better."

But Mr. Morton remained hopeful that his good friend would return to the pitch.

He said: "He's had a beautiful career and hopefully it's not over yet. He's a very determined man.

"He's got his age and fitness on his side and his family and friends behind him."

Wade, who is a right-legged midfielder, made his debut for Bermuda in the 1991 friendly win against the United States and has earned over 30 caps. He played two seasons for Hereford United in the English Football League, and recently played for Southampton Rangers and Hamilton Parish before becoming player/coach at Hornets in summer 2008.

Mr. Morton visited Mr. Wade in hospital earlier this week but was unable to see him as nurses were with him.

He said: "He was on a bed with his leg in traction. His leg was up in one of those pulley systems with weights hanging from it."

Mr. Morton said he "feared the worst" when he received a phone call from a member of staff at Dandy Town at about 5:30am on Saturday.

Mr. Morton said: "I heard the phone and didn't even want to answer. The last time I got an early morning phone call it was someone telling me Machai Campbell had passed away.

"I thought it was happening all over again, it was frightening, I really thought there had been another fatality. My heart was just pounding and pounding."

He added: "I was told there had been a serious accident and everyone is delighted it wasn't a fatality, but we're now just trying to work out the extent of his injuries."

Mark Jennings, Hamilton Parish coach, said he was "shocked" to hear about Mr. Wade's accident. The two of them have worked together at coaching camps.

Mr. Jennings said: "He's messed up his hip and is bed-ridden, but he's doing pretty well all things considered.

"He's a good fella and has a lot of people wishing him well. He's determined he will pull through and make a full recovery.

"It may take some time but he's a real fighter and will surface again on the football pitch.

"He lives for the challenge and works hard for it, he just needs to rest his body at the moment."

KEMH confirmed yesterday that Mr. Wade was in a "stable condition" and a police spokesman said inquiries into the accident were ongoing.