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Q&A with Dunamis Lui

Dunamis Lui is a player for the Canberra Raiders in the National Rugby League (NRL) and suffered an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury in Round 13 last year against the Manly Sea Eagles. Lui has played 96 career games in the NRL at the Broncos, Sea Eagles, Dragons and now in Canberra over a nine season career. He discusses the mental struggles of not being able to participate and also outlines the advice he passes on from his experience to young athletes suffering from similar injuries.

Photo Credit: Canberra Raiders

How mentally tough was it for you to sit back and watch the boys train and play last year?

Yeah it was pretty tough. I’ve said it a lot but coming in every week and seeing the boys and when they run out to train you’re left in the gym by yourself doing what you need to do inside a gym and all the boys are out there running so yeah it is pretty tough especially when you’re on your own. I had a lot of support from the boys and the coaching staff here as well which really helped me through it all.

Was it easier than you thought due to the support from the club and also your family?

I knew my family would always be there for me but with the boys, I didn’t ask for it and they were just there for me. Especially Josh Papalii, he was one guy that really supported me the whole way last year and during my rehab which was really good of him and it just shows how good the club is.

Coming back against the Bulldogs in the trial game this year, how were your nerves?

I think I was just extra keen to get out there and play. To be honest, I’m not sure if I was fully confident with my knee. When all the boys ran out to warm up, I stayed in the sheds for another couple of minutes just sitting there and trying to shake the nerves and I was tying my shoelaces and my fingers were shaking. I just wanted to get that first run out of the way and after that run it sort of left my mind and I just got on with the game.

Once you played those initial first few minutes, how do you feel your confidence picked up from there?

After my first run, I don’t even think I thought about it after that and I just continued on with it and played on so it was good.

Were you able to cut down the initial recovery time at all? If so, by how much?

I don’t think I cut it down although I did a lot more training earlier than I was meant to though. I wasn’t meant to do any contact during training and I ended up coming back two weeks early with my contact sessions but everything else time wise, I was aiming for the trial game onwards but I was doing a lot more than expected at training.

What advice do you have for young athletes going through rehab for ACL injuries?

Really stick close to your family and all your friends, they’ll be there to support you and just never give up. Just keep picturing the reasons why you started in the first place and just keep pushing.

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