Malcolm Hanley, Rugby Player

With rugby I had to deal with many setbacks because of the high intensity and physicality that is required in the game. One setback that would stand out from the rest would be breaking a bone and stretching 3 ligaments in my ankle. I have had injuries to that calibre before but it was the timing of it. I had just been named to start in my preferred position of 7 for Connacht to play our first inter-provincial game against Munster at home. I was also told by coaches after team selection that I would be named as captain for the game. It was a huge deal for me because I really cherish the trust players and coaches put into me to lead their team and at provincial level it is something extra special. But with all this pre-match buzz and hype going on, in the warm up I tried to steal a ball while practicing defense and I got brought out of the ruck but sadly my ankle stayed in the ruck. I heard a crack and instantly felt sick from the pain and missed my first Connacht game I spent so long working for.

I would say working through difficulties in rugby and sport in general is an incredible test of your mind set. For myself, months of physio is something I had to endure many a time and during it I would try set myself goals at the start of the rehab, giving myself targets to reach, even if it was just having the strength to put full weight on my ankle. It gave me incentive and tricked my mind into thinking I was still working for rugby rather than waiting to be healed. I would also try to spend a lot of time with my family and friends. I find this helpful personally as I completely forget about what I am dealing with.

In times of self-doubt and injury a helpful piece of advice I use myself would be short term goal making. If you are in a period of self-doubt which I can tell you has most definitely happened to me, this helps you remain positive and you can track your progress and sort of congratulate yourself and tell yourself, “Good job that’s one goal done.” And not making them out of complete reach for short term is more realistic. While long term goals reach for the stars, your short term goals are leading to it, one step at a time. Once you see all your little steps you will remain positive in both times of self-doubt and injury.

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