Patrick Tuipulotu has a bright career ahead. The 22-year-old lock has already earned seven caps for the national side, sparked by a break-out 2014 season with the Blues.
Just like most professional rugby players, Patty’s career progression isn’t linear. While he was shining out on the field, his range of movement was hampered by a developmental defect in his hips and groin. Back in May, Patrick Tuipulotu made the decision to sit out the remainder of his Super Rugby season and undergo two bouts of surgery to fix the problem.
It was a decision not taking lightly, with surgery putting a halt to not only his Blues season, but also this year’s All Black aspirations.
“That was the hardest part,” recalls Patty, more than four months later. “After I came to terms with missing out on the World Cup, I started thinking long term and my future rugby career.”
Patty had his first surgery in early July, then six weeks later went back under to correct the other side. That meant Patty was confined to crutches for 12 weeks, the only exercise he was permitted to do was three 30-minute sessions on the Watt bike a day.
“I got sick of that after about one week,” said Patty with a laugh. His downtime was spent playing Playstation, watching movies and of course tracking the All Blacks’ progress over in the UK.
Almost three months after his second surgery, Patty is now into phase two of rehab under the guidance of Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Jason Price and Blues Physio Mark Plummer.
“He’s well on track,” said Mark. “He’s about to start running and in another three months time, he’ll be back ready to play.”
“The good thing is that we’ve got time, Patty doesn’t need to be doing contact for a couple of months. Our main goal is that when pre-season starts on 28 November, he’s close to full participation.”
Patty has his sights set on the end of November goal. “I’ll be ready to run and get 100% into it,” he said. “I definitely miss all the team training.”