I have had a number of people recently asking if I would start my QESS blog again. So much has happened since my last series of blogs, it is actually hard to believe! Not long after the ICL tour of India I was offered a role by the AFL to establish a new football club in Western Sydney – the Greater Western Sydney Giants! I accepted the role of Sports Science and Medicine Manager and with family in tow, moved from Melbourne to Sydney.
This has been a very exciting time and it has been a privilege to watch this Club grow into a genuine premiership contender within the AFL Competition in just 6 years. This is not to say that the past 6 years have been easy!!! Far from it in fact. The initial establishment of the Giants was at Blacktown Olympic Sports Park. After a couple of seasons this operation expanded to what has become the Club’s home base at Sydney Olympic Park. My role here included design and supervision of the Sports Science and Medicine facility at the Giants. I loved this and drew on my experience with the Australian Institute of Sport and my 10 years at Essendon Football Club to attempt to deliver a product that is pretty much an Institute of Sport for Australian Football!
Everything was going quite well until some personal issues intervened.
Around 2013 I began to behave in a very strange manner – forgetful, emotional, disorientated and confused.
My family, work colleagues and friends would all try to take my altered behavior into account due to a recent marriage separation and work around me. Unfortunately, the condition steadily became worse over that year.
I sought professional help. Initially, I was diagnosed with depression. As I became even worse, this escalated to the diagnosis of a mental breakdown!
❖ Fortune was smiling
Fortunately for me, investigations into my health status remained open. It was eventually discovered that both diagnosis of depression and the mental breakdown where, in fact, misdiagnosis.
The reality was that I had contracted a very rare autoimmune disease – Limbic Encephalitis. This disorder is extremely difficult to diagnose. It is an inflammation of the brain that in 95% of cases results in development of brain tumors and in another 3% of cases a coma from which you do not wake. Obviously, neither option is wanted! Fortunately I was in the 2% that developed neither.
❖ The Road To Recovery
Of course it is from life experiences that we learn the greatest lessons. For me – the Limbic Encephalitis has enabled me to reflect upon my life thus far – and the exciting future ahead.
Only last week I had paid a visit to my specialist whom was pleased to declare that I am now recovered from the autoimmune illness. I have returned to work at GWS and have assumed the role of Director of the GWS Giants Academy. More about that in a future blog!
I have also set up a practice as an Exercise Physiologist at Sydney East Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics (SESMO) at Double Bay where I consult every Monday. In addition to this, I also consult from South Yarra Sport & Spine Medicine (SYSSM) in Melbourne once per month.
I look forward to bringing you thoughts, ideas, research and ramblings in future posts. For now, life is exciting, challenging and fun. IN the next couple of weeks I will be one of the Key note presenters at the I JUST SAY IT conference on the Gold Coast (http://www.leadershipgoldcoast.com/) along with being a part of world class coaches discussing all things strength and fitness. The panel includes Usain Bolt’s long time strength coach – Leeroy Gray (http://cesports.com/gettheedge).
Looking forward to all of your comments along the way!