McCabe ready to test his broken neck

Mon, 06 Jan 2014 08:16
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Pat McCabe may have fractured his neck twice in 14 months, but he is not about to tone down his abrasive style.

Pat McCabe may have fractured his neck twice in 14 months, but he is not about to tone down his abrasive style.

The Brumbies' Wallaby centre, McCabe, missed the second half of 2013 after he injuring his neck in the first Test against the British and Irish Lions in June last year. The 25-year-old first broke his neck on the Wallabies' year-end tour of Europe in 2012.

He has spent the last 14 months with neck braces a constant reminder of the setbacks, as his he went through the painstaking routines of rehabilitation.

McCabe said he would not play again if he thought was risking long-term damage.

Speaking to the Canberra Times, he said he needs ''to take some hits'' to get rid of any doubts and nerves as he prepares for his second Super Rugby comeback.

McCabe and the Brumbies started pre-season training on Monday, sevens weeks before their opening match against the Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium.

The first session will have extra significance for McCabe after doctors cleared him to start contact training for the first time since breaking his neck in June.

The 21-Test Wallaby insists he won't modify his hard-nosed style, despite fears his career was over when he twice cracked the C1 vertebra in his neck.

''The main thing for me is getting out there and taking some hits,'' McCabe said.

''It's about getting used to that and get to the point where it's not in mind at all and that [the contact] is just natural again. I think the first couple of hits, my neck will be something I'm thinking about. But when the games start you don't have time to worry about that.''

McCabe is targeting a comeback in the trial match against the Highlanders on January 31 to get match fitness.

After his neck fracture in 2012, he injured his hamstring and knee when he returned and then broke his neck again in the Test against the B&I Lions in June.

Still frustrated by his injury curse, McCabe said he would not rush back and would use a head brace twice a week to strengthen the muscles in his neck.

''It was a relief to get the final tick to play again and it was nice to get it before the Christmas break so that I knew I could get straight into it [on Monday],'' McCabe said.

''Having done it before, it made the time in the neck brace a lot easier. This time I think I'm a lot better prepared, I've had a good bulk of time to get myself ready.

''Last year I rushed to get back on the field.''

Source: Canberra Times

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