Wallaby powerhouse opens up on the ‘dark’ reality of long-term rehab

Wallabies front-row Taniela Tupou looks on Credit: Alamy

Wallabies front-row Taniela Tupou looks on Credit: Alamy

Wallabies front-row Taniela Tupou opened up on the challenges faced during his long-term rehab, how he almost walked away from the sport and the importance of speaking to someone.

The Tongan-born powerhouse suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in a November Test against Ireland last year. The injury immediately threw his Rugby World Cup participation in doubt and what was worse is that his contract with the Reds was in its final year.

Tough time

Tupou admitted it was a very difficult period where he even considered giving up the game. However, he leaned on support from others and is delighted to have recovered not only in time for the World Cup but for a possible Test return against the All Blacks this weekend.

“It has been tough the last eight to nine months to do all the rehab alone. Looking back on it, it wasn’t easy. There was a time when I really thought about my future in footy,” Tupou said.

“It was just mentally hard. I was asking for help and I was speaking to a few people, I needed that. But I’m we’re here now and I couldn’t be any happier, just be around people again and the boys and now it’s fine.”

Speak to someone

Rehab challenged the star in many different ways and forced him to speak to other people including psychologists – something he would not have done before.

“Before I was one of those guys where speaking up was not an option,” he said.

“So to find out you are not weak for speaking up, I had to learn the new skill of speaking up when I needed to.

“I didn’t know who to talk to but we’re lucky enough to have the psychologists for the Wallabies so I reached out to him and he makes everything easy for me and I’m very comfortable talking to him.

“I ended up talking to a few other people comfortably enough to speak to the boys. Before I knew not there were a lot of the boys speaking up on me because we have a lot of people here that care about me and that’s why I’m so grateful now.

“When I did my Achilles last year, I thought the worst. Also the last year of my contract, I thought I was going to miss World Cup. I was in a very dark place but hey we’re here now.”

A special moment

Tupou returned to the field for Australia ‘A’ in a very special match against Tonga two weeks ago in a moment he described as the “highlight” of his career.

“These games never happen in Tonga. You see these games happen in Fiji or Samoa but you’ve never heard of a game in Tonga,” Tupou said.

“For someone like myself growing up in Tonga and playing in that stadium when I was at school, to have that opportunity to perform and play in front of my family in that stadium, it’s a full circle to where everything started for me.

“It was by far the highlight of my career.

“I get a bit emotional talking about it because it means so much to me.”

READ MORE: Wallaby’s stint at Toulon ends prematurely due to concussion setback

The article Wallaby powerhouse opens up on the ‘dark’ reality of long-term rehab appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

You might also like...