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Broken bones nothing on inner demons

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  • Broken bones nothing on inner demons

    A personal story of depression to share with any who think they're too tough for the disorder.

    Broken bones nothing on inner demons
    August 10, 2013
    David Polkinghorne
    Sports reporter at The Canberra Times

    Fractured eye sockets, broken bones and twisted testicles are nothing compared with depression, which Queanbeyan Whites hard man Matt Hirst rates as the worst ''injury'' he has had to overcome in his rugby career.
    Hirst will play his 200th senior game for the Whites against ladder-leading Tuggeranong at Campese Field on Saturday.
    It has been a hard slog to get to the milestone for the 34-year-old Hirst, who has overcome broken bones in his face, fingers, ribs, legs, ankles and feet, as well as torn ligaments, golden staph and twisted testicles (twice).
    But, he says all of those injuries were nothing compared with his battle against depression over the past two years. A doctor can easily patch up his body, but there is no easy fix for mental illness.

    Hirst has spoken about his depression with ACT Brumbies winger Clyde Rathbone, who has also battled the disease.
    ''It's probably been the worst injury that I've had,'' Hirst said. ''It's such a hidden demon inside you.
    ''People ask, 'Why are you depressed?' And you're like, 'I don't know'.
    ''It's something you have and you've just got to control it.''
    He said he has the condition under control but still struggles with it ''on and off''.

    Hirst credited the support network of the Whites for playing a large part in the healing process.
    He said while it was getting harder to keep his spot in the second row for the seniors, it was the bonds he had formed at the club that kept him coming back.
    ''It's just the mateship; I don't think you get that much with any other club compared with Queanbeyan. It's like a tight-knit family. They support me 100 per cent … you can ring [Whites captain Dan Penca] about anything, same with [coach] Adam Fahey. It doesn't have to be about football, just if you need something or you need to talk or vent.''

    Hirst has won three premierships with the Whites and will play his milestone game against reigning premier Tuggeranong. He said playing against the best side would add extra meaning to his 200th game.
    ''It would've been good to play it against Royals because I can remember playing my 100th and 150th against Royals.''

    Last edited by Tina; August 11, 2013, 01:16 PM.
    Tina, Forum Moderator, TSFC Staff Liaison

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  • #2
    Re: Broken bones nothing on inner demons

    Thank you for sharing this inspiring story, Tina. Anyone who has battled the illness of depression or has known someone dealing with this illness can attest to how debilitating the symptoms can be.

    Depression is a treatable illness that requires work, courage and persistence, but in the end it it possible to come out of the end with more good days than bad days.
    TouretteLinks Forum


    • #3
      Re: Broken bones nothing on inner demons

      Wow he took on alot of injuries playing rugby, wonder if his depression was from tramatic brain injury?


      • #4
        Re: Broken bones nothing on inner demons

        There have been lots of studies on traumatic brain injury in football and hockey. There must be some on rugby. I know very little about the sport.
        From what I've seen, those guys don't even use helmets. Guys who do are called sissies.
        I found an older Canadian study, Does rugby headgear prevent concussion? Attitudes of Canadian players and coaches (2002), in which the findings include:

        Players' attitudes to safety gear
        Overall, the players' questionnaire showed that, although most players believed that headgear can protect against concussion, most did not wear it and did not believe that its use should be made mandatory.

        Coaches' attitudes to safety gear
        In general, the coaches were less convinced than the players that headgear could potentially minimise the risk of concussion. Five of the nine coaches did not think that the use of protective headgear reduces the incidence or severity of concussions, one coach was undecided, and three believed that headgear is effective. Some coaches who did not believe that headgear is effective in preventing concussion suggested that its use could potentially lead to more concussion as the players may: “have a false sense of security”; “learn to lead with their heads”; or even “take a kamikaze approach”. They were concerned that padding in rugby may evolve to that currently used in American football. Apart from potentially leading to more injuries, the coaches were worried that the cost of playing rugby would also increase.

        Fascinating. And this stat:
        According to a 2011 report by the Centre for the International Business of Sport at Coventry University, there are now over four and a half million people playing rugby union or one of its variants organised by the IRB.[182] This is an increase of 19 percent since the previous report in 2007.[183] The report also claimed that since 2007 participation has grown by 33 percent in Africa, 22 percent in South America and 18 percent in Asia and North America

        That's a lot of people breaking bones. Who knows how many inner demons are being created at the same time.
        Tina, Forum Moderator, TSFC Staff Liaison

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