The Road to Recovery A Rugby Player’s Story
It’s difficult for any athlete to make a comeback after an injury. Few can imagine the mind set, determination and perhaps insanity it takes, to get yourself back up to the level where you can risk tackles, scrums, mauls and even permanent injury. discipline, success is impossible, period.” Oli Farley is a 19 year old rugby player who regularly trains at Edge. His journey so far has definitely not been a simple one, but like the others who train alongside him at the gym, he is focusing on the future of his career rather than on ghosts from the past.
“He could have gone further with any of the sports he did, but he chose rugby”- Jennifer Farley
Oli was to unfortunately suffer a number of physical setbacks and injuries in 2010 and 2011. It was in 2010 that he was diagnosed with bi-lateral labral tears and para-labral cysts on his hips. Bi-lateral labral tears can be caused by or aggravated by playing contact sports. Bone fragments tear away at the soft tissue around the joint called the Labrum, causing hip pain. He underwent surgery and spent the next 7 months in recovery. However that was not to be the end of his problems. In 2011 only a few months after his hip recovery he started suffering from knee pains. “I couldn’t believe it, I was finally getting back into the mindset to play again and all of sudden I’m out again” Oli recalls. It turned out that the knee problems he was having required a lateral release to realign the knee cap. The knee cap abnormally pulls to
one side, often due to the tissue known as the lateral retinaculum being too tight. This causes the malfunctioning of the tracking in the knee. The recovery this time was a long 8 months, so after already having7 months out the previous year, things were not looking up. Finally in December 2011, he had to undergo minor surgery again on his knee to repair a cartilage tear. This took another 8 weeks out of the time he should of been on the pitch. So with a year and a half spent away from playing, it was going to take some serious determination and the ability to trust his body again and to get back out there, working towards the future he always wanted. He made the decision to give rugby league a try, playing for the Bradford Bulls reserves. This brief stint on the other side didn’t last very long however, as he decided rugby union was definitely more for him. The rest of the 2012 season was fairly slow moving until he was invited to attend a trial for the Cornish Pirates in the summer. Although he didn’t get signed they did offer him the chance to keep going down and training with the. He hopes may lead to him getting signed by them in the future. As far as the 12/13 season goes he is focusing on getting more game time and building his stamina up. “I know I’ve still got at least another 60% to give” says Oli on his comeback so far. He spent pre-season and the start of the season playing for Leeds Met 2nds as number 7. However, has now taken up a place with Lancashire U20’s and Preston Grasshoppers. Whilst speaking to him it was clear that he is just enjoying rediscovering his love for rugby at the moment, whilst earning money as a trainer at Edge gym and still thinking about the future. The next step will be trying to get on the team to play for North England and he intends to go and train with Cornish Pirates next summer.
Images Copyright of Soraya Homayoonpoor
When you first go to a gym, particularly a high quality one such as Edge: Beyond a Gym in Leeds, you automatically think all the members are fitness fanatics and aspiring or professional athletes and there is some truth to this. However, what people neglect to see is the struggle some of these athletes go to in their quest to reach their peak and then still try and push beyond it. This quest is not an easy one; it is laced in pain, tears, sweat and sacrifices. For these athletes self discipline is everything, as retired American Football Coach Lou Holtz said “without self-
Like most kids are and in Oli’s opinion “as all kids should be”, he was thrown into a number of sports, but age 4 was when Oli began rugby at Leigh Rugby Club. He had a brief time living in the USA with his family, but later returned to play for Preston Grasshoppers when he was 11. His mum Jennifer said “he could have gone further with any of the sports he did, but he chose rugby”. His love for rugby became more apparent when he continued with it well into his teens. He became Lancashire U17’s captain and reached the North England U16’s divisional trial finals. His shining moment in his teens was being selected to join the London Wasps AASE when he was only 16. However, this meant uprooting and moving to London on his own, something that he admits he “always struggled with when he was playing at Wasps”. The training was rigorous and the boys were all expected to carry on with school whilst attending daily training sessions. He attributes his focus to his time at Wasps and that focus was going to be more crucial to him than even he realised in the coming months.
“I couldn’t believe it, I was finally getting back into the mindset to play again and all of sudden I’m outagain” Oli recalls.