Paddy’s Blog


The Guinness Autumn Internationals are over, and what a great series of results for Ireland, winning a Grand Slam that included two out of the three big hitters of Southern Hemisphere rugby, South Africa and Australia.

One of the key element of International Rugby in the professional age is the ability to give and take a hit, or as they used to be called, a tackle. I was interested to hear my old team mate Brain O’Driscoll say that he enjoyed a great hit more than scoring a try, and I know what he means. I have a couple of memorable hits that I enjoy thinking about myself.

But the other side of that part of the game is that injuries are an occupational hazard. During my career I had a number of periods where I wasn’t able to play.

The Autumn Internationals saw players come and go for Ireland, with Rory Best missing the first two, but coming back for the game against Australia. Paul O’Connell is often in the wars, and had a blood injury against South Africa that would have cause a footballer to lie down for more than a few minutes, but Paul was up and at it immediately. Knees and hamstrings are at risk, and dislocations are common, with Simon Zebo having a dislocated finger strapped so he could continue against the Aussies. Paddy Jackson has also picked up an injury in the Ulster win against Ospreys, and will be out for a few weeks.

Being professional players, and the intensity level of the game means that you accept that you are going to be injured. The benefit that we have over people who play as amateurs, or play other high level physical sports such as GAA or hockey, is that we still get our pay when we are recovering. We are also fast tracked into the medical procedures that are needed to mend us and get us back playing again.

Now that I have retired I have realised what a bonus that was, as due to the pressure on the system, going through the NHS can take a lot of time, with longer off work, and potentially loss of earnings.

So now I have taken out an H3 private insurance policy to cover me and my family. Being part of the 3fivetwo Group means that we can get to see a specialist without having to go through a GP, and the process is managed by the team at H3, to make sure we get to the right Consultant within a few days.

I am doing some work with H3 and so I will be keeping you up to date with my thoughts on the rugby season and what I have been up to now that I am living a life that will hopefully need less medical attention.