A case of Devine intervention for brave Steve

A case of Devine
intervention for brave Steve

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/news/5365956/A-case-of-Devine-intervention-for-brave-Steve

 

MARC
HINTON

Remember Steve Devine? Chirpy little Aussie, who crossed the ditch and became an All Black. But what most people don’t know is the price he paid. He tells Marc Hinton his emotional story in the hope it may make others  more aware of the perils of the game.

How bad
did it get? How black were those dark days? The tears well up in Steve Devine’s
eyes as he ponders the lowest point of a rugby career eventually ended by one
head knock too many.

He
struggles to find the words, and the memories are clearly still too painful for
public consumption.

The now
34-year-old former All Black from Auckland doesn’t really have to respond. The
answer is in his eyes, even if the words don’t come readily.

“Mate,
could I give you an exact example? I wouldn’t want to. It was tough. It was
horrible for me and people around me to see how I was struggling. People come
around and you put on a brave face and chat and then they leave and you go
to bed for four hours because you’re exhausted.

“A
lot of people didn’t see that side of me, they didn’t see the fatigue and that
sort of thing because when they there I wouldn’t want to show it. But the
energy I’d used would just blow me away. I’d be in bed for two days so the toll
was really on my family and my life I suppose.”

That toll
Devine speaks of was significant. That becomes clear as he tells the story of
his abbreviated career. This is not a tale for the faint-hearted, but in
relating it Devine hopes to raise awareness of an issue confronted by hundreds,
possibly thousands, of young Kiwis at all levels of the game.

Devine
suffered repeated concussions throughout his rugby career. At the extreme end
of the scale, for sure. His size, style and fearlessness seemingly combined to
make him a target. At times it was as though he was running around with a
bull’s eye on his forehead. Wham! The thud of sinew on bone played out like a
sickening soundtrack to his career.

At first
he would just shake them off. Get on with it. As you do. Then he would take
time for his mind to clear, the headaches to fade. That period would grow with
each additional impact. Until, finally, the last one left him in a haze for
2 1/2 years
. That final recovery sent his life into a tail-spin.

No one
told him it would be like this. And now this amiable, gregarious Australian
(the boy from Boggabri, in northern NSW) who crossed the Tasman and become an
honorary Kiwi – 10 tests for the All Blacks being about as honorary as it gets
– wants to warn others.

Not so
much the professionals he looks over in his current role as manager of the
Auckland ITM Cup team. But the schoolboys and club players who don’t have the
same checks, the same protocols and the same medical professionals in place.

Devine is
telling his tale not because he wants sympathy – far from it – or because he’s
bitter and twisted about the hand dealt him. Again, far from it. He just hopes
that by reading his salutary story the message will get through to a player, a
coach, a referee or even a parent somewhere.
Be careful. Be aware
.

He can
only hope.

Rugby,
with its crunching collisions, power and size and ferocity, is going to take a
physical toll on many who play it. Knees, hips, shoulders, and many other body
parts are at serious risk. “A lot of those other things you can fix,”
notes Devine. “You can throw in a new hip and be up and going again in
four or five months. Unfortunately one brain is all you have and you can’t sub
in a new one.”

WHEN
DEVINE picked the ball up off the back of the scrum and went for one of his
trademark darts, he didn’t just run slap-bang into a vicious high tackle that
knocked out two front teeth, but a living nightmare that would take him the
best part of three years from which to recover.

That was
back in the first game of the 2007 National Provincial Championship against
Counties Manukau, with the halfback playing his 78th, and final, match for
Auckland in nearly a decade’s sterling service for them and Super Rugby
offshoot the Blues.

Devine’s
rugby had been peppered with head knocks. He catalogues them like career
highlights – monuments to his commitment, his fearlessness, as well his
vulnerability.

There was
the 2003 Super 12 semifinal when he was knocked out, and forced to miss the
final. In his first test for the All Blacks, in 2002 at Twickenham, he was KO’d
twice – in the first half. He never made it back from halftime. And so it went
on. Intermittently the knocks would come, and invariably Devine would shake
them off and get straight back on the horse as soon as he felt right.

But
around the 2006 Super season, things took a turn for the worse.

“I
started to notice something was wrong,” he recalls. “I’d taken quite
a few in a row, like three in three weeks, and one time I got home from
training and woke up in the hallway. I couldn’t even make the bedroom or
lounge. I was so tired I lay down and
went to sleep right where I was.”

Soon
after even the hallway proved beyond his reach. He pulled the car into the
garage, and just slumbered there at the wheel. “It was just fatigue and headache-type symptoms. I remember another
time I opened the car door on my head. I just wasn’t in sync with what I was
doing. I knew something was wrong.”

The final
straw came when the Blues had a game in Brisbane. They were down halfbacks and
the pressure was on Devine to front. They travelled Thursday and he slept
pretty much every spare moment through until the game on Saturday. Then played
as though he’d never awoken.

His
parents had travelled up for the game and Devine recalls staggering up into the
stands after the game. “I could hardly even talk, I was just so exhausted.
After about 20 minutes I went down to the sheds, sat on the doc’s table and
said ‘mate, something’s not right here’.”

Dr
Stephen Kara – the man who would eventually end Devine’s career – agreed and he
was sidelined for six months. He consulted neurologists and was put on
medication to help with the migraines. That piled even more fatigue on top of
what he was already feeling.

Then
Devine came back and played the back part of the ’06 NPC, before going off
medication for the ’07 Super season. He took a “big shot” in the
semifinal in Durban – the last game of the Blues’ season – and then in the NPC
opener came that crunching blow as he darted off a scrum. It was to be Devine’s
last act as a rugby player. “Doc just told me ‘that’s enough’. I was a
competitor – I don’t think I could have made that decision.”

For the
next 2 1/2 years he would pay the price for that final blow. Between fatigue
and intense migraines, the little Aussie battler spent much of that time
struggling to participate in a life passing him by.
He became
“horrifically” worried about when, and if, he’d come out of it.

“For
the first eight months it was a matter of
lying in a room and sleeping
,” he says. “Our second child had
only just been born, my wife was running a business and looking after two kids
and myself. I was truly a waste of time.

“My concentration was shot to
pieces. Holding a conversation was incredibly difficult – just to talk like we
are now, I’d need a sleep afterwards. If there was background noise I couldn’t
cope. Often I couldn’t concentrate enough to even hold conversations.”

And so it
went on. His vision became badly
affected by bright light, he became almost intolerant to loud noise

remember he had two youngsters in the house. The headaches continued,
decreasing marginally but never abating. All the time he was searching for
solutions. “I trialled 40 to 50 different drugs to try ease the migraines,
but nothing seemed to work.” He asked plenty of questions, but no one
could give him any answers.

“A
lot of my doctors thought I had depression. I just think I was so tired of
having a migraine. I’d wake up in the morning with a migraine and go to bed at
night with a migraine. I guess it’s depression because you can’t function as
you normally would. I’ve been to some pretty dark places. It almost cost me
everything.”

NOW,
FINALLY spat out the other side of this prolonged nightmare, it’s interesting
to gauge perspective in hindsight. Would he have done things differently,
knowing what he knows now? And surely there’s some bitterness towards rugby?

“I’m
not blaming anyone,” says Devine. “If I could I’d play again
tomorrow. I’m not bitter. I did a lot of it myself. I was the one who put
myself back on the field. Would I do it again? Most definitely, up till that
last one. I wouldn’t put anyone through that again. But I had a great time, I’m
a competitor and sometimes the competitive bug is bigger than anything
else.”

Devine
has two young boys (Will, 6, and Mac, 4) and the oldest is already playing
rugby under his dad’s tutelage. “He’s a good little player. Rugby has been
awesome for me and I’m proud of what I achieved. I just wish my boys, whatever
they do, get the same enjoyment I did out of rugby.”

BUT HEAD
knocks happen. And Devine hopes there can be a heightened awareness about them,
especially at the lower levels of the game.

“I
cringe when I see head collisions and kids stay on when you can clearly see
they’re not well. It will catch up with you at some stage. At some stage it
will bite you in the arse. You’re not going to stop it because it’s a contact
sport, but let’s give a bit more power to referees. They see it, and they need
the power to say that was a big collision, you may or may not be [concussed]
but with the benefit of the doubt we’ll put you on the sideline.”

Devine is
loath to put too much onus on players and coaches to make the hard calls,
though he sees a greater awareness now at the higher levels. Unions understand
players are an asset and risks shouldn’t be taken. Compulsory stand-downs and
rigid testing procedures are in place.

“It’s
a competitive sport and people compete. When I was young, if a coach asked me
if I was all right, I would have said yes and played on. That’s what
competitive kids do. As a player the pressure was on to get myself ready to be
back on the field. I wanted to compete and when I was out it was `what do I
need to do to get myself ready to play again’?”

But this
story has a happy ending, it would seem.

Devine
feels fully recovered (Botox proved his magical elixir) and a battery of recent
tests back that up. “I don’t know if the brain has fixed itself or learnt
to deal with it, but I find now I’m starting to be the person I was before the
head knock,” he says.

He counts
himself lucky to have “come out the other side” and has a message for
others battling similar problems.

“As
bad as it gets, you do come out of it. There are things to help you too.

“Nothing
worked for me for a long time and then things did. I guess keep asking
questions and keep trying to find people who can give you answers.”

In other
words, keep reaching for the light. It’s
there
.

– Stuff (As published in the Sunday- Star Times)

http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/news/5365956/A-case-of-Devine-intervention-for-brave-Steve

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About craig lock

About the Author Craig has a 'passion' for writing books that tell stories about people doing positive things in this often so hard, sometimes unkind world, occasionally cruel, yet always amazing world - true stories that leave the reader feeling uplifted, empowered and hopefully even inspired. https://www.createspace.com/3779691/ and http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4 Craig Lock loves to encourage and empower people to be the best they can possibly be, and to create what they want in life. Craig has learnt plenty from the "school of life" (still "battered and bruised") and also from a few "hard knocks on the head". He is an extensive world traveller (on a "shoestring budget") and failed professional emigrater who has spent most of his lifes savings on airfares. He is still sliding down the razor blade of life on the beautiful undiscovered island that is New Zealand, somewhere near the bottom (rude!) of the world near Antarctica. There he talks to the 60 million sheep! Craig has been involved in the corporate world (life assurance) for over twenty years in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. However, through a strange set of circumstances and finding himself in a small town near the bottom of the world ...and with nothing else to do, he started writing. That was five years ago. Five published books later and having written another twenty manuscripts (on widely differing subjects - well what else is there to do here?)... this is where Craig is in the "journey/adventure" that is life. Craig has taught at the local Polytechnic, as well as running a successful creative writing course (not teaching sheep!). He was the author of (as far as we know) the first creative writing course on the internet Craig has many varied interests and passions. He is particularly interested in the field of psychology – studying the human mind and what makes different people "tick-tock grandfather clock". He is fascinated by the "overlap between psychology and the dimension of spirituality". One of his missions in life is helping people make the most of their hidden potential and so finding their niche in life... so that they are happy. Craig’s various books probably tell more about his rather "eventful" life best (no one could believe it!). He writes books with serious messages and themes, then as a contrast "rather crazy, wacky stuff"…to keep him sane here. As an ‘anonymouse’ person wrote: "All of us are born mad; some of us remain so." Well nothing else much happens in quiet provincial New Zealand, other than headlines like "Golf Ball Thrown at Policeman" (it missed, btw!) and "Beach Toilet Closed for Season." True! The various books* that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at ebooks (digital books) http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4 http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=la_B005GGMAW4_sr?rh=i%3Abooks&field-author=Craig+Lock Paperbacks (see https://goldendawnpublishing.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/paperback-writer/ and https://wanttowriteabook.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/paperback-writer-the-beatles/ https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=%22craig+lock%22&sitesearch_type=STORE https://www.amazon.com/Craig-Lock/e/B005GGMAW4/ref=pe_584750_33951330_sr_tc_2_0?qid=1476388259&sr=1-2-ent http://www.creativekiwis.com/index.php/books and http://goo.gl/vTpjk All proceeds go to needy and underprivileged children – MINE! “When the writer is no more , the value of your purchase will soar! “ “Together, one mind, one life (one small step at a time), let’s see how many people (and lives) we can encourage, impact, empower, enrich, uplift and perhaps even inspire to reach their fullest potentials…and strive for and perhaps one sunny day even achieve their wildest dreams.” PPS Don’t worry about the world ending today… as it’s already tomorrow in scenic and tranquil ‘little’ New Zealand
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25 Responses to A case of Devine intervention for brave Steve

  1. craiglock says:

    Hi

    CAN’T KEEP UP…BUT THANKS FOR THE “THANX”
    MANY MORE COMMENTS OVERNIGHT and many hundreds of thousands already on my various other blogs athttp://craigsblogs.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/craigs-blogs-and-writings/…true!) …obsessive or WHAT! *So hope it’s not slowing down your loading speed!). Am really pleased you are enjoying my writings, as the reason I write is to share.
    So sorry can’t reply individually to all you good people scattered around the planet, but DO try to read as many as possible daily (and even moderate a few when I get a “mo”),

    * “Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

    ~ Franz Kafka

    I do really appreciate your liking, linking to and/or following this blog (and “writing in”), so “thanks for the thanx”

    “As we live and move and have our being, so from this vision, we create heaven in our own lives… and perhaps even heaven on earth.”
    – craig (as inspired by Acts 17:28 and the words of Felicia Searcy)

    “Aim at the earth and you may not get off the ground.
    “Aim at the stars and you may reach the moon.”
    “Aim at heaven and you’ll have earth thrown in…
    and you may even hit the stars.”
    – craig (as inspired by the famous quote by CS Lewis – 24th May 2012)

    “When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
    – Leonardo da Vinci

    “If a man is called to be a street-sweeper,
    he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted,
    or Beethoven composed music, or
    Shakespeare wrote poetry.
    He should sweep streets so well
    that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say,
    here lived a great street sweeper
    who did his job well.”
    – Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

    PPS
    Instead of trying to reply to each one of you, I’ll just keep on writing

    “If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I’d type a little faster.”
    The various books that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=la_B005GGMAW4_sr?rh=i%3Abooks&field-author=Craig+Lock
    http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4 andhttp://goo.gl/vTpjk

    All proceeds go to needy and underprivileged children –
    MINE!

    ”Since I can never see your face,
    And never shake you by the hand,
    I send my soul through time and space
    To greet you. You will understand.”

    – James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915)

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  3. craiglock says:

    Hi

    CAN’T KEEP UP…BUT THANKS FOR THE “THANX”
    MANY MORE COMMENTS OVERNIGHT and many hundreds of thousands already on my various other blogs at http://craigsblogs.wordpress.com/…true!) …so hope it’s not slowing down your loading speed!). Am really pleased you are enjoying my writings, as the reason I write is to share.
    So sorry can’t reply individually to all you good people scattered around the planet, but DO try to read as many as possible daily (and even moderate a few when I get a “mo”),

    I do really appreciate your liking, linking to and/or following this blog (and “writing in”), so “thanks for the thanx”

    “As we live and move and have our being, so from this vision, we create heaven in our own lives… and perhaps even heaven on earth.”
    – craig (as inspired by Acts 17:28 and the words of Felicia Searcy)

    “Aim at the earth and you may not get off the ground.
    “Aim at the stars and you may reach the moon.”
    “Aim at heaven and you’ll have earth thrown in…
    and you may even hit the stars.”
    – craig (as inspired by the famous quote by CS Lewis – 24th May 2012)

    “When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
    – Leonardo da Vinci

    “If a man is called to be a street-sweeper,
    he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted,
    or Beethoven composed music, or
    Shakespeare wrote poetry.
    He should sweep streets so well
    that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say,
    here lived a great street sweeper
    who did his job well.”
    – Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

    PPS
    Instead of trying to reply to each one of you, I’ll just keep on writing

    “If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I’d type a little faster.”
    The various books that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=la_B005GGMAW4_sr?rh=i%3Abooks&field-author=Craig+Lock
    http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4 and http://goo.gl/vTpjk

    All proceeds go to needy and underprivileged children –
    MINE!

    ”Since I can never see your face,
    And never shake you by the hand,
    I send my soul through time and space
    To greet you. You will understand.”

    – James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915)

    Like

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    Hi

    CAN’T KEEP UP…BUT THANKS FOR THE “THANX”
    MANY MORE COMMENTS OVERNIGHT and many hundreds of thousands already on my various other blogs athttp://craigsblogs.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/craigs-blogs-and-writings/…true!) …obsessive or WHAT! *So hope it’s not slowing down your loading speed!). Am really pleased you are enjoying my writings, as the reason I write is to share.
    So sorry can’t reply individually to all you good people scattered around the planet, but DO try to read as many as possible daily (and even moderate a few when I get a “mo”),

    * “Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

    ~ Franz Kafka

    I do really appreciate your liking, linking to and/or following this blog (and “writing in”), so “thanks for the thanx”

    “As we live and move and have our being, so from this vision, we create heaven in our own lives… and perhaps even heaven on earth.”
    – craig (as inspired by Acts 17:28 and the words of Felicia Searcy)

    “Aim at the earth and you may not get off the ground.
    “Aim at the stars and you may reach the moon.”
    “Aim at heaven and you’ll have earth thrown in…
    and you may even hit the stars.”
    – craig (as inspired by the famous quote by CS Lewis – 24th May 2012)

    “When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
    – Leonardo da Vinci

    “If a man is called to be a street-sweeper,
    he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted,
    or Beethoven composed music, or
    Shakespeare wrote poetry.
    He should sweep streets so well
    that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say,
    here lived a great street sweeper
    who did his job well.”
    – Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

    PPS
    Instead of trying to reply to each one of you, I’ll just keep on writing

    “If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I’d type a little faster.”
    The various books that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=la_B005GGMAW4_sr?rh=i%3Abooks&field-author=Craig+Lock
    http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4 andhttp://goo.gl/vTpjk

    All proceeds go to needy and underprivileged children –
    MINE!

    ”Since I can never see your face,
    And never shake you by the hand,
    I send my soul through time and space
    To greet you. You will understand.”

    – James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915)

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