I had sliding inguinal surgery around 1991 and still have numb tissue from nerve damage, fortunately mostly numbness to the right below my navel. In 2010 I had my ascending large colon removed and it is a toss up as to which was harder, probably the latter but I still, all too well remember the hernia. It was supposed to be 3 tiny cuts but ended to being those and a 6" cut toward my hipbone.
The hernia itself was not so painful but could be if left as was or inevitably got worse
I have no clue what a sports hernia is but I bet it slowed him noticeably.