'It is long term': Mapping out Tom Trbojevic's brutal road to recovery

·3-min read
Manly's Tom Trbojevic (pictured left) leaving the field after after a shoulder injury.
Manly have accepted it will be a long road to recovery for Tom Trbojevic (pictured left) after his shoulder injury. (Getty Images)


Footy clubs are never short of suggestions from well-meaning but misguided fans when it comes to getting injured stars back on the paddock quicker than the medical men suggest.

Years ago, an NRL club was sent a parcel of leeches with a note guaranteeing the blood suckers would speed up their star half-back's recovery from a nasty infection ahead of a big game.

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The leeches weren't to be applied to the player's wound, as you might think, but to be digested so the infection could be tackled internally.

Suffice to say, the player stuck to his course of antibiotics.

Tom Trbojevic would swallow a box of leeches if it meant returning from a serious shoulder injury sometime in 2022.

Manly's superstar fullback is gone for the year after suffering a dislocated shoulder in Friday night's loss to Parramatta, but some fans won’t give up on a miracle recovery no matter the means.

One Fijian-based Sea Eagle supporter has been attempting to get hold of the club's medical staff to let them in on an injury cure not seen in any traditional medical books.

It's a process involving a "witch doctor", a special leaf and lots of prayer – and its exponents claim to have living proof it works.

Waisake Naholo (pictured) speaks to the media following a New Zealand All Blacks Training Session
Waisake Naholo (pictured) speaks to the media following a New Zealand All Blacks Training Session. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Back in 2015, All Blacks superstar Waisake Naholo broke his leg and was ruled out for three months, all but ending his dream of playing in that year's World Cup.

But his uncle back in Fiji had other ideas, ordering Naholo back to his village and going to work on the broken limb.

For four days Naholo's leg was wrapped in kawakawarau leaves as prayers were delivered on his behalf.

He was back to full fitness within seven weeks, earning selection in New Zealand's World Cup squad.

"A lot of people don’t know about this healing process and to them it is a miracle cure,” Naholo's uncle, Isei Naiova, said at the time.

"To me and my family it’s simply making use of the gift from God and the traditional leaf."

Manly seeking traditional methods for Tom Trbojevic's injury

Manly won't be entertaining any left-field methods as they prepare for Trbojevic's latest bout of surgery and rehabilitation.

The fullback's mental health is the club's first priority – Turbo is naturally gutted to be out of the game again – and then the physical work will begin.

"We do not (go in for alternate medicines). Unless a method comes through the doctor or surgeon then it is not considered," Manly's experienced Head of Performance, Don Singe, told Yahoo Sports Australia.

"An athlete may ask us to investigate an area of interest but generally it's a no.

"He (Trbojevic) will see the surgeons but from historical and evidence-based findings with this type of injury, it is long term."

Leeches and leaves would have made a better story, but it looks we'll have to go with the science on this one.

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