Leinster and Ireland prop Cian Healy has revealed that he was almost forced into retirement from rugby last year after undergoing off-season neck surgery prior to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Despite not featuring in any of Ireland’s pre-tournament warm up matches with Wales, Scotland or England, Healy was picked in Joe Schmidt’s 30-man squad for the World Cup alongside Leinster props Jack McGrath and Mike Ross.
Healy was a late addition to the squad after a successful recovery from surgery, but, at the time, the Clontarf front-rower thought that not only was he not going to play in the World Cup, he didn’t think he was going to ever play rugby again.
“I had the insurance forms filled out and everything. I was pretty much ready to sign off,” Healy told the Sunday Times‘ Peter O’Reilly.
“At that point I’d gone beyond being scared about playing again. I couldn’t write my own name and address. It was grim enough. I couldn’t put the key in the car ignition, couldn’t put the key in the front door. I became left-handed at everything.
“The thing about the nerve is that it’s hard to see the benefits of rehab because you were getting nothing. There was no signal to the muscles to do any work so for the best part of that summer, after surgery, my hand was useless.”
Healy said that movement in his left hand has improved dramatically over the last few months but that he still does not have complete full control back in his arm.
“The only thing I can’t do is a thumbs-up, but then I don’t need to do that.”
The 29-year-old revealed that he used electronic stimulation pads and took part in a woodwork class to improve his dexterity.
Healy started at loosehead prop during Leinster’s 25-14 win over Munster on Saturday with the former Lions front row expected to play some part in next month’s November internationals against New Zealand, Canada and Australia.
Jack O’Toole, Pundit Arena