Mental stability behind Foran's fitness

By Scott Bailey
Kieran Foran has been enjoying a resurgence this season after his NRL return to Manly. (AAP)

Kieran Foran believes he is proof of the scientific link between a healthy state of mind and an injury-free body.

Seven years after he last featured in the finals, Foran's return to the post-season with Manly could well be the NRL's feel-good story of September.

In the years since his 2015 departure from Brookvale, Foran has been battered, bruised and at times almost broken with his off-field torture as well known as his on-field pain.

The Sea Eagles half spoke just last month of his mental demons, hitting rock bottom multiple times as his career spiralled out of control.

The 31-year-old struggled for game time too.

At this point last year Foran had suffered a pectoral tear, the latest in a long run of injuries that had restricted him to 66 games in his five seasons away from Manly.

But with the faith of his first NRL coach Des Hasler, Foran has missed just two games in 2021 - with a broken hand - and is set to play the most games of any season since 2013.

"It coincides with where I am at mentally as well," Foran, who met and married his partner and mother-of-six Karina in 2018, said.

"I am feeling refreshed, I am feeling happy. I am enjoying myself being back here at Manly.

"I'm not too sure the evidence behind it, but if you are living in a stressful state of mind, you are carrying that extra weight on your mind.

"There is no doubt it would play a role with you physically.

"Be it your nutrition and your sleep or things like that would alter to where you would be at in a steady or happy frame of mind."

Foran's theory has merit.

Several studies into health indicate a link between psychological stress and an increased risk of injury.

Leading NRL sports scientist Tim Gabbett also pinpointed bubble stress as one of the key factors in last year's significant increase in injuries.

What's also been proven by Foran this year is that he just needed time on the field to be dangerous again.

The gutsy five-eighth is playing with confidence, busting through more tackles in 2021 than any other since 2015.

He has also formed a deadly combination turning balls back inside for Tom Trbojevic, creating more linebreaks than any other point in his career.

"There has been a lot go on between (that last finals appearance in) 2014 and now. Seven seasons but it does feel like a lifetime for me," Foran said.

"It's incredible to think it was that long ago I was in a finals campaign. That has been a real driver for me.

"There has been a real hunger in me to get back to finals footy.

"To come back to a great club and people involved in this organisation who really believe in me."

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