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Injury gives surfer newfound appreciation of cross-training

15 October 2013

Injury gives surfer newfound appreciation of cross-training

There’s nothing like getting injured to make you aware of the impact an injury can have on your life.

As part of ACC Safety Week 2013, ACC clients are sharing their stories about how they got injured – and they’re encouraging other Kiwis to pay attention to safety, to avoid getting injured themselves.

Below, Wellington’s Billy McGrath shares his story:

An ankle injury suffered while surfing resulted in more than six months of ongoing rehabilitation for Wellington artist Billy McGrath.

But it also led him to the realisation that he could do more to prepare himself physically for the cherished pastime he’s pursued since he was a teenager.

Now 44 years old, Billy looks back on his thirty odd years of surfing and realises he was probably lucky not to have been injured before, since apart from surfing, he’s never really pursued any other type of physical activity.

“A lot of guys out on their boards these days, they’re really fit and you can tell they go to the gym or maybe do cross-training. I think that definitely helps strengthen their bodies, so they’re less prone to injury when they’re out on the water.”

Billy injured his ankle on a late summer’s day at Castlepoint Beach in the Wairarapa, in March this year.

“I didn’t even fall off the board, the wave just forced it against my ankle with such strength that it resulted in a fracture.”

The fracture wasn’t immediately apparent, as it didn’t show up on an initial X-ray. After a couple of weeks at home with what he thought was a sprained ankle, Billy returned to work – at the time, he was working for a tour company; a job which involved driving 4WD vehicles around Wellington’s rugged south coast.

When the stiff clutch of the vehicle Billy drove began proving difficult to handle, he had to stop work again – and this time an MRI scan revealed the fracture.

“ACC were brilliant – they supplied orthotics, which provided excellent support for my feet and body, and the rehabilitation they organised with a physiotherapist at a gym was really beneficial.”

“Since the injury, I’ve been able to concentrate on my art, so that’s been a good outcome. And my rehabilitation has helped me see there’s a lot more I can do to strengthen my body, to avoid similar injuries in the future.”

Billy is happy to talk about his injury experience – contact details available on request.


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