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The water slide accident that cost Jack Carty his spleen and a Pro12 final

“What if I didn’t go on holidays to Dubai — if I had just stayed at home and kept the head down?”

Image: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

JACK CARTY IS grateful now that he was able to make a full recovery from such an unusual injury, but the Connacht out-half understandably began to wonder what might have been had his 2015-16 season not been interrupted by a bizarre accident.

While on holiday in Dubai last February, Carty ended up in hospital after an encounter with a water slide left him needing his spleen removed. The 24-year-old subsequently spent 10 weeks on the sidelines during an important juncture in Connacht’s season.

“It was our last day and we went to the water park,” Carty recalled to TG4. “Everyone finds this hilarious but it was literally just a water slide that the bottom goes from underneath you and you go down around a few bends. I kind of just nicked it off the side.

Throughout the day the pain just started getting pretty immense and come about seven or eight o’clock in the evening, I couldn’t get out of bed; couldn’t move. That happened on the Friday and by the Monday I’d had the procedure and my spleen taken out.”

Carty had featured regularly for Pat Lam’s side last season but his absence proved costly on a personal level. Connacht went all the way in the Guinness Pro12, defeating Leinster in the final in May. Carty had returned as a replacement against Munster six weeks earlier, but he was ultimately unable to dislodge the likes of AJ MacGinty and Shane O’Leary for the decider.

“Obviously AJ and Shane [O'Leary] and the lads did really well while I was gone,” Carty said. “They brought the team to a new height and an extra gear. On the day I was the 24th man and obviously you kind of think, ‘What if I didn’t go on holidays to Dubai — if I had just stayed at home and kept the head down?’ It was disappointing obviously.”

After undergoing the surgery, Carty lost 13kg of his body weight and the recovery was challenging — both physically and mentally. But having been Connacht’s first-choice in the number 10 shirt so far this season, the Athlone native got there in the end.

There were a few stages after I had surgery that you’d be looking at yourself in the mirror and you’d be like a rake or a stick. You’d be pretty small and you’d wonder could you get back to where you were, or psychologically would you be able to put your body in front of people to make tackles and stuff like that.

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“I won’t lie. Initially it was quite difficult to do that but I suppose as I got back into it, the kind of gradual return to play and the physical activity within the strength and conditioning staff up in Connacht made it quite easy. It streamlined me back and now I have no issues with it whatsoever.”

Source: NemetonTV/Vimeo

Carty will start at out-half tomorrow night when Connacht aim for their first win of the season against Edinburgh at the Sportsground [7.35pm, TG4].

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Paul Dollery

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