Sunday 23 October 2016

Cian Healy is right back on track

Ireland prop won't settle for second at World Cup

Cian Healy at the launch of Flexiseq, the drug-free gel for joint pain and stiffness
Cian Healy at the launch of Flexiseq, the drug-free gel for joint pain and stiffness

Cian Healy knew there could be something serious up when he started to lose power in his hand and found it difficult to write.

The same thing happened to England duo Dan Cole and Joe Launchbury and they were out for six and five months, respectively.

"There wasn't a direct bang where my arm went limp. It wasn't anything like that.

"It was a gradual decrease in feeling over a while," he said.

"I took a bang against Bath. It was nothing major. It was run of the mill. I didn't even stop the carries" he said.

"After the game, I was quite stiff up in my shoulder, feeling a little nervy in the scapula area. I just managed it, doing my neck exercises.

"Gradually, it got worse. My writing was deteriorating. I lost sensation in my pinky and ring fingers.

"They brought me in to see the surgeon on Thursday. I was operated on Friday. It was as simple as that."

The practicalities of the operation meant Healy had to be told of the possible recriminations. The same had happened when he ripped the hamstring off the bone back early into the season.

This time Healy's World Cup was on the line.

"I think it is a legality that a surgeon has to tell you the worst before he can tell you the best," he said.

"I didn't sit there and think I could have played my last game for Leinster or Ireland. I'm not like that.

"He was going in there to do a job and it went better than expected. It could have been a car crash for the amount of scrums I've hit.

better picture

"What he saw painted a better picture than any of the scans."

In the past, Healy has used his love of painting to find relief from the boredom of injury and rehabilitation. Not this time.

"I couldn't sketch. I left it aside," he said.

"I channeled it into sculpting and simple creative things like making a plant box out of wood in my garden. It is something creative to do."

Healy's knows what it is to suffer for his art.

The ankles, the hamstring, the neck, the list goes on and on.

The path has now been cleared for a fit and firing Healy to make a big impact at the World Cup.

"Under 'The Joe Show' and the attitude everyone has, I have no qualms in saying we'll be going into it to win it. There is nothing else in our mentality," he said.

"We've gone from strength to strength. Every player loves being in there. The environment is amazing.

"It made me really realise it coming back in for the Six Nations after missing the Autumn.

"It was quite refreshing to remind me what I was joining back into. It had moved on since I was last there. It was a bit worrying, wondering how much had I missed, how far behind I was.

"But it was brilliant because you could see that everything was moving forward."

Healy is most definitely a man with a plan.

"Whereas usually I'd plug away on strength work, we're going to be setting up a plan where there is less strength work to do.

"It is more about becoming fitter, faster and more durable.

"I'm trying to become Sean O'Brien really."

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