Ireland's Laser Radial 2014 World Silver Medalist Seafra Guilfoyle had to pull out of the first Irish Olympic Trial for Rio due to a back injury last season. Three months later and thanks to a steroid injection, the Crosshaven sailor flew out to the Canaries this week to compete at the Laser European Championships. Unfortunately, the slipped disc injury has flared up again and the Irish youth champion has been kept ashore in Las Palmas. Here Guilfoyle outlines the setbacks to his campaign
The injury all started back at the end of June, I had started to feel pain in my left leg while walking around but was confused as I didn't feel any pain while sailing. I went to Germany at the start of July for a Europa Cup. We had to drive from Amsterdam to Warnemunde which is a 10 hour drive. That didn't help my leg and I could feel more pain coming on.
We did two days of training before the event and I was feeling quite a lot of pain while walking so I texted my trainer Mark McCabe and he said not to do the event. We had to do the same journey back to Amsterdam and once I got to the airport I could barely stand.
Back in Cork, Mark organised for me to come to his gym in Sportsmed in Dublin to be accessed. He got an x-ray for me where the results showed that I had a slipped disc in my back and it was rubbing off the nerve which gave the pain in my leg. I spent the whole summer each week in sports med where I would do half sessions a day and I would go back to Cork on the weekend.
I had to skip both the under–21 Worlds and Europeans. My first time sailing was in September during a camp. I did some half days but couldn't go out in heavy winds. I was slowly getting back to sailing and was happy to be allowed attend a camp in Croatia during the end of October. Unfortunately, I wasn't careful enough and sailed six out of nine days there which was too much for my back to handle.
Once I got back to Ireland I felt a lot of pain in my leg again which meant I set myself back a good bit. I was back in the gym quite a lot and spent two weeks in Sportsmed before Christmas doing rehab. I wasn't allowed back in the boat at this time. It was looking better until I got a chest infection just after Christmas. This happens each year because of dampness and asthma.
After Christmas, I consulted with Mark, the ISA doctor James O'Donovan and the team at UCC and we all decided it was time to get the steroid injection. Since getting the injection I have felt that it has helped a lot and I was feeling barely any pain in the leg just before coming to the Canaries for the European Championships. I was hoping to be able to compete in this event but the bus journey from Cork to Dublin and the four and a half hour flight was too much for my back to handle and it brought back a lot of leg pain.
I have been in contact with Mark everyday and the leg pain has started to ease off a lot.