Cody McIntosh is all about heart, in more ways than one.
An echocardiography student, this year McIntosh was preparing to undertake the practical element of his studies to find out more about how our hearts work, but that – much like all life as we know it – has had to come to a pause for the moment.
“University has been shut down, so everything’s moved online, which is tough when you’re studying echocardiography, because relating the theory to the practical side of things is very important,” McIntosh said.
“But, they are making arrangements to get us back on track, so hopefully it all works out, but I guess it’s just about setting yourself a goal to know the theory in relation to the heart and when the time comes to get hands on, you have those strong foundations.”
McIntosh has also displayed a strength of heart when it comes to his rugby league and his approach to injury setbacks; and unfortunately for the Souths Logan Magpies forward, he has had a few.
After spending an extended period of time on the sideline last season with a broken arm, the Queensland University team representative was excited at the prospect of heading back into the field for the 2020 season after working hard on his recovery.
“I snapped my radius, had to get a plate put in, a pretty decent sized plate, and I had some complications with it,” McIntosh said when asked during pre-season last month about his return from injury.
“I spent the last five months in rehab, so I just came out last month and have come back to full contact, so I have been on that bandwagon of conditioning and trying to improve my conditioning from last year in the rehab.
“I have had a few surgeries, but this was probably the hardest one to come back from.
“Just the process that was involved, it’s been six months, it’s been pretty tough.”
Bad luck struck again however during his first venture back onto the football field, with the Darling Downs junior sustaining a serious leg injury in Souths Logan’s second trial game, suffering a grade three MCL tear.
“Literally, I had just come onto the field and just got caught in a tackle I wasn’t meant to be in and then someone fell on me and hit the back of my leg and I wasn’t expecting it, so I sort of went one way and my knee the other,” McIntosh said of his current ailment.
“When I first did it, I was pretty gutted ... I was coming back after six months and then not even getting a fair stint and to do that, was just gutting I guess, but it just means you have to work harder to get back on the field again.”
While rehabbing injuries is a tough enough challenge already, McIntosh currently has to contend with the new public health safety rules which mean gyms, pools and other similar service providers have been directed to close their doors to the public.
“Recovery (at the moment) is tedious, but I’m getting more movement slowly, probably not where I want to be recovery-wise for me personally, as you always want to be ahead of recovery time frames,” McIntosh said.
“Looks like I’ll be using all 12 weeks of the recovery and rehab process.
“The new rules definitely make it tough to get back on the field.
“Going back-to-back with injury just in general, you lose that benchmark of strength and fitness that you need to be able to play Intrust Super Cup and now not being able to train as a group and with gyms shutting... it just makes it that much harder ‘cause for me I’m unable to do the running blocks needed to keep myself ready for footy.
“I can’t run, or use rowers, bikes all that stuff, ‘cause I’m still at a really short range of movement with my knee.
“I was swimming and doing things like that, but obviously now we are unable to access those, so yeah, just been doing body weight stuff the best I can and going for long walks with the dog just to keep myself mentally strong.”
Although McIntosh would be forgiven for wanting to feel a bit sorry for himself, he has no time for that, and is instead looking forward to overcoming his challenges.
There’s plenty to keep him occupied, and he is about to get a whole lot busier, as he and his partner are due to welcome a daughter into their lives in three weeks’ time.
“(It’s a) bit of an odd situation to be in (right now), especially with my partner due to have a baby in three weeks, but is what it is and we are doing our best,” McIntosh said.
“I think, to look back and know that I’ve been able to overcome two injuries, two pre-seasons, a pandemic, complete my uni and take on dad duties as a new father will be pretty surreal.
“(It will) just prove to myself how resilient and how much ticker I have.”