My Kieser Story, Nicholas O’Kearney: Keep Playing Football

Client Name: Nicholas O’Kearney
Centre: Essendon
Primary Exercise Scientist: Matthew Clark

After a fracture to his C6, Nicholas didn’t think he would ever play footy again. After going through a program at Kieser, not only is he back playing footy but his overall health and self-confidence has improved. Here is his story: 

“This time last year I was in a bad way. I had fractured by C6 and had poor posture due to the state of my upper back, shoulders and neck muscles. I faced the challenge of not being able to turn my neck from side to side, which meant I was unable to drive and live a normal life. In addition, I couldn’t stand for long periods of time due to lack of muscle strength which lead to fatigue. I had severe headaches and was not sleeping well. I was in a neck brace for five months and the social anxiety and fear of going out in public with it on was one of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome. 

I was on the list at St Kilda for two seasons and a few of my team mates would use Kieser at the Sandringham facility due to back pain. I was playing football at the Keilor Football Club with Essendon Exercise Scientist, Matt Clark. I was unsure what the next steps where after my injury so he pointed me in the right direction and encouraged me to get started at Kieser.

My first sessions at Kieser were quite challenging initially as I was having to think about basic movements I could once do. It was like I was training my mind again to send signals to the muscles I wanted to use. From a physical point of view and being quite active prior to the injury it felt like I was achieving nothing in the first couple of sessions. The exercises I was doing were quite basic and cautious due to the nature of my injury and the state of my neck. I was put onto a program that promoted basic movement, engaged muscles around my neck and general lower and upper body exercises to promote physical activity and movement. 

Since coming to Kieser I no longer have any ongoing symptoms from my broken C6. The muscles around my neck, shoulders and upper back are stronger than ever and I have so much confidence in completing daily tasks and movements throughout my neck. 

I am now able to enjoy being out in public again. The incident had a profound effect on my mental health as it led to mood swings and severe isolation. Isolation came from not wanting to be in public because I found that people would often stare and it just made me uncomfortable. Now I live day to day life without any headaches and have the ability to concentrate and complete tasks. My posture and overall state of my muscles are at a point where they are stronger than before the incident.

Prior to coming to Kieser I was told by specialists that I may not play football again. At the time this was hard to hear because the game means so much to me. With my team at Kieser we mapped out a plan to give myself the best opportunity to return to full health from a day to day perspective. We agreed that footy was a bonus. Through their guidance and expertise my rehab went to plan and I was able to return to the football field two months ahead of schedule. I can’t thank Kieser enough for the time they put in, the guidance they gave me and the confidence they instilled in me throughout the process. There were ups and downs throughout the whole process but with my Kieser team by my side they made it so much easier. 

For the future, I am hoping to continue to play and enjoy football at a high level because you just don’t know what is around the corner!”

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