Former Ipswich footballer and elite masters athlete Darrin Norwood knows how to overcome challenges.
Former Ipswich footballer and elite masters athlete Darrin Norwood knows how to overcome challenges. Inga Williams

Serious injury experiences that may help you

ATHLETE/footballer Darrin Norwood and soccer player/cricketer Adam O'Sullivan can understand what Sara Rogers (see separate online story) has gone through in recent months.

Norwood, also a personal trainer, has endured three reconstructions and made successful returns to rugby league, Aussie rules and athletics.

"The last time I spoke to my surgeon, he was just completely shocked that I could still do the things I do,'' Norwood said.

"He said whatever you are doing, keep doing because it's delaying the fact that you can need a knee replacement at some stage down the track.''

Norwood knows how much work is required to make a recovery after two reconstructions on his left knee and one on his right knee.

After his first knee reconstruction in 2002 being young and fit, he returned playing after six months.

His second reconstruction in 2008 and third in 2010 required the more usual 12 months rehabilitation.

"It's more mentally draining than anything else,'' Norwood said.

"Whether you'll ever be able to get back to where you were.

"The physical side comes when you can actually start moving it.

"You've got to have the right mindset and have an end goal if you're going to get through it.''

Norwood needed his surgery after playing rugby league and Aussie rules.

"When I did my first one was when I was trying rugby league again,'' the former Brothers player said.

He said his second reconstruction was playing Aussie rules for the Ipswich Eagles.

"I went down just to help out the guys and playing my second game, I just stepped and it gave way.

"That one (right knee) took a lot longer to recover from.''

The third reconstruction was back playing league.

The Raceview personal trainer, now 37, has become a successful international masters athlete, having won three medals and set a series of personal at this year's world titles in Perth.

"You want to make sure you do all the ground work,'' he said.

Norwood said that included strength exercises where "you've got to do a lot of that before you get into the weights side of things''.

"If you rehab properly on that area, the rest of it will fall into place,'' he said.

"I was doing stability work twice a day, every day, and then you'd do your leg weights.

"You want to get that range of movement back into the knee joint. I found that harder than the strength work because it's just constant pain when you're trying to stretch and get that movement back.''

Be sure you're ready to return: O'Sullivan

ADAM O'Sullivan is back enjoying cricket after last season returning to the football field for the Ipswich Knights.

He suffered his major injury playing for the Knights in the 2015 Brisbane Premier League competition.

His medial, lateral, anterior cruciate ligaments and meniscus were all damaged in his left knee.

"It's pretty tough, especially the first month or two,'' O'Sullivan, 27, said.

The multi-talented sportsman had dealt with ankle and other less serious injuries in his sporting career juggling cricket and football. But needing a knee reconstruction was a massive blow at the time.

"I sort of realised I'd done it straight away,'' he said.

"That was probably the most disappointing part.

"The day I did mine, we had a fair bit of rain and it was a bit soft underfoot. But I think it was just one of those things - wrong place, wrong time.''

It took O'Sullivan more than nine and a half months to recover.

"Everything went pretty well for me,'' he said.

But like Rogers and Norwood, he warned caution was needed.

"I was training for a while and I probably pushed myself a little bit harder, a little bit quicker than most,'' he said.

"There was definitely a part where I thought I'd be okay and then you would move it a certain way and you could feel that it wasn't 100 percent stable.

"That's probably the biggest thing with it. It feels stable but you've always got to give it that little bit extra time.''

O'Sullivan top scored with 79 playing first division cricket with Centrals on Saturday.

"It's not too bad,'' he said, adjusting to using muscles his body "hasn't used in a while''.

He's so glad to be playing sport again.

"There's nothing worse than sitting and watching all your mates play sport (while you can't),'' he said.

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