The 2014/15 season proved a tough one for Leinster and Irish prop Cian Healy. Despite playing a significant part in Ireland’s Six Nations Championship success, a series of injuries limited the experienced tight head to nine appearances at provincial level.
Neck surgery meant that the Clontarf native was marked absent for the closing weeks of the Leinster’s troublesome campaign, but speaking at the Aviva Stadium yesterday, Healy is confident that he will back to full fitness in time for Ireland’s World Cup journey.
“I was saying to them that I wasn’t going to go into it (surgery) if it was going to cut me out of a World Cup. The surgeon sat down and told everything that all going well, I’ll be ready by the end of July to be hitting scrums and full tackles,” Healy revealed.
“After surgery, he came out and said that everything went as well, if not better than expected. There’s going to be something going wrong for me to not make it. From now there’s not much that can go wrong.”
Following the surgery, Healy had to bide his time before given the go-ahead to undergo rehab work. That process has now begun in earnest, and the former Belvedere College student feels he is making encouraging progress.
“It was eight or nine days of doing nothing after the surgery. The muscles and all that around (the neck) are all much better. I’ve already started rehab work and body weight work. It’s depressing, but it’s working towards being able to push-up. We got to that stage yesterday (Tuesday) and now it’s starting to move on again. I’m not one that’s able to sit around and feel sorry for myself. I’m working on getting as much movement in the neck as possible.”
A problematic hamstring injury meant Healy was also short of match sharpness in the build-up to the Six Nations. As a result, he had to wait until the decisive encounter against Scotland to finally regain a starting place in the Irish front-row, but despite suffering these setbacks, Healy has remained mentally strong.
“If you start feeling like you’re missing out on things and feel like you deserve that you should be at something, then it’s going to make your time an awful lot harder.
“I’m pretty good at switching off from the rugby side of it. I wouldn’t go into holiday mode, but I would go into rest the body mode and start working on something else.”
Although Healy is confident of making a full recovery from each injury, the enforced retirement of former Leinster and Connacht scrum-half Paul O’Donohoe was a reminder to him how serious nerve injuries could be.
“You sit down with a surgeon, you look like you’re seeing a ghost. They’re going to list off every worst possibility, and then finish with a bit of good news. My knowledge of these areas isn’t high enough to start saying, ‘I think I feel good enough to not do it’, or anything like that.
“When it’s such an important thing, and nerves have ended careers. Paul O’Donohoe, a friend of mine, he had to finish on a sciatic nerve thing. It was quite close in my mind how serious it could have been.”
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