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As a 19 year old, I had achieved my ultimate goal of qualifying for the elite top 17 World Surfing Tour. It had taken so many years of hard work, dedication and training.
I was so excited and also apprehensive about surfing against my idols, the likes of Layne Beachley, Keala Kennerly, Sophia Mulanovich to name a few.
I had great financial support and seriously was thinking wow hard work, perseverance and a bit of talent can really take you places if you just believe. How good is this thing called life!!!
Isn’t it funny how the world can work sometimes.
I had a few hard match ups with Layne Beachley straight out of the blocks where she ate me alive, yet taught me by baptism of fire and the lessons I took on quickly.
I then got on a role and made two semi finals in a row in my rookie year and jumped up dramatically on the ratings, I was finding my feet, the ball was rolling my confidence was supreme and I felt I could make the top four easily.
Then I dislocated my shoulder. That’s fine, people do this all the time. The problem was I was in agony after the fact, I had damaged a nerve and was in continuous pain. Local surgeons were so keen to operate within the week when I got home, it seemed they just cared about the dollars. To me all I cared about was the pain and the fact my dreams were being ripped out of my hands…
I guess the thing I found most frustrating was that I knew if I had surgery and went back to what I did, I would end up with the same outcome, more surgery, but just less tendon, ligament and cartilage to be able to clean up after a professional career, because there is no way I was going to let this stop me.
This is when I stumbled upon an Osteopath, he told me the cause of my issue, he treated and referred (to the best shoulder surgeon in Australia) and he told me what I needed to do to prevent this stuff from happening again.
Whilst all this was going on my sponsors were threatening to cut my endorsement which I had worked so many years for. “You aren’t an employee”. In other words as a paid athlete for endorsements if you aren’t selling product, you are out the door. There is no job security because apparently it isn’t a job. So I competed in some events with a bung shoulder and requalified (making my sponsors go quiet).
So to cut a long story short, I had a slim window of time to win a World Title. Three years upon reflection and in those three years I had a major injury, which ultimately cost me a lot in so many ways than just finance. I fought on and had some event wins and stayed in the elite World Tours top seventeen for a decade but injury and illness, as many people in the world can relate to can severely disrupt your life.
To those aspiring pro surfers/athletes out there, be good to your body and align yourselves with people who can help you to keep yourself in the best condition you can be, because opportunities are small and the professional sporting window is short, you want to be ready when your time comes! This is why I have chosen Osteopathy, to help others, to try to find the cause of what is going on, teach some body awareness and to prescribe some preventative measures to change the patterning.