Sydney Swans hotshot, Isaac Heeney talks to Inside Sport about overcoming a physical setback in preseason.
Heeney was ready to go for 2017 – entering his third year in the AFL, the 21-year-old was poised to get more time in the powerful Swans’ midfield, and such were his performances during workouts.
“I had a really strong preseason, felt the strongest and fittest I’ve been. I probably was enjoying life so much, always on the go,” Heeney says.
“I don’t know if it was a little bit of fatigue that made me more vulnerable to it [Glandular Fever]. Straight the first JLT [match], I started to come down. I wasn’t feeling right. I thought it was a common cold. Then I got aches all over and the glands were through the roof. Couple of days after it got really bad – could barely get out of bed, that sort of thing.
“The doctors got blood test after blood test, and nothing came back. After about the fourth or fifth test, it came back with glandular. It doesn’t show up in the blood test until the antibodies are there. Knocked me about for three and a half weeks – did absolutely nothing, and then slowly built it up from there.”
A country kid from outside of Newcastle, Heeney has never been the type to just sit around, which complicated his recovery. “I’m such an outdoors person,” he said. “I never watch a TV show, always outside surfing or swimming, doing something. For me to do absolutely nothing for four and a half weeks, it drove me insane. And with the start we did – I couldn’t even get off the training track. It was very challenging.”
Fortunately for Heeney, all the preseason work didn’t go to waste. “I had a very good base coming in, and it didn’t take me too long to get back to that. I still don’t think I’m back to where I was at. But I’m feeling fit and strong at the moment.”