'I couldn't write my own name' - Cian Healy reveals how close he came to retirement in 2015
Published 09/10/2016 | 13:52
Leinster and Ireland star Cian Healy believed his rugby career was at an end last year when nerve damage left him unable to move his right hand.
Healy underwent surgery on a disc in his neck in the summer of 2015 but suffered nerve damage in the process. The loosehead prop was unable to use his right hand as a result.
While rugby fans here were worried about Healy's availability for the World Cup, Healy was fearful about the injury ending his career.
"I had the insurance forms filled out and everything. I was pretty much ready to sign off," he 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."
Feeling did return to his hand and Healy was named in Joe Schmidt's World Cup squad but he struggled to find form last season.
The 29-year-old has made an impressive start to this season and revealed that he used electronic stimulation pads and took part in a woodwork class to improve his dexterity.
"The only thing I can't do is a thumbs-up, but then I don't need to do that," he added.
If Healy can continue his form he will have a big part to play with Leinster, Ireland and, possibly, the British and Irish Lions over the next 12 months.