Tasmania&aposs Ryan McCarthy is ready to play. And not just ready like any other day. Ready like it would take wild horses to pull him away from making his return to competitive golf at the Keperra Bowl next week in Brisbane. His start at Keperra Golf Club marks the end of an emotionally and physically exhausting five months following shoulder surgery. When McCarthy felt his shoulder slip out of position in the surf at Redhead Beach during the Lake Macquarie Amateur in January, it was an unpleasant case of deja-vu and a reminder of a rugby union match in 2005 where it all began. “The initial problem began in August 2005 during a 7-a-side rugby union match. A high impact collision caused an anterior dislocation (dislocates forwards) to my left shoulder. As this was the first time I had experienced a dislocation I was unsure on what this intense pain was. During being carried off the ground I felt a relieving thud which gave instant pain relief. If I knew what I did know my description to the emergency staff at Burnie Hospital would have been completely different,” McCarthy said. “Having not seen how my injury was caused they told me I had simply sprained my shoulder and give it a week to rest. Being an eager 16 year old, I decided to compete in the Tasmanian School Boys championships 6 days later before even consulting a physiotherapist. Although I manage to have a successful tournament playing with a three quarter swing, it came at a price.” “I will always remember making birdie on the Par 5 18th at Riverside golf club to win but the feeling that brought tears to my eyes after going for the green for 2 haunts me. A sharp pain down the outside of my left arm began during that swing and never left. It felt as if someone was cutting me with a knife every time I moved and a constant throbbing when I remained stationary. I would later find out that the sharp pain was caused by a minor tear in my super spanartous tendon.” A bump in a school football match not long after fully displaced the joint and left him with no other option than a restruction which took place in 2006. Four years passed without incident. Early in 2010, McCarthy was midway through repetitions of an overhead shoulder press with dumbells in the gym and felt the shoulder move before rolling back into place. “I had experienced a subluxation of my shoulder,” McCarthy said. “After consulting back with Greg Hoy it was clear I needed a Scope Revision Reconstruction at a later date. If I rehabilitated this injury properly I would be able to compete unhindered.” “There would always be instability in the shoulder but could be managed by making the supporting muscles stronger. As the surgery was not immediately required I decided to leave it and focus on the rehabilitation progress. The plan was to have the surgery when I had secured a tour card as a Professional and could afford to have the 16 week layoff.” Then the hot day in in Newcastle led the group down to the beach to cool off. “It was during this swim I dislocated my shoulder again. There was no warning, no previous aches or pains; it was just out of nowhere. It was again an anterior dislocation as it was previously and my shoulder had dropped down and I could not put in back in myself,” McCarthy said. He was fortunate to be with friends who were on hand to keep him afloat and help him from the water and to the local hospital. “I was very fortunate to have Brad James and Matt Cutler from Golf Australia swing into action and return me to Melbourne to see orthopaedic surgeon Trevor James within 36 hours of the final dislocation. The originally recommended Scope Revision Reconstruction was now required. I instantly saw my year go down the drain and the plan to turn Professional at the end of the year gone.” Then began a slow, painful recovery process where McCarthy walked up to 45 kilometres a week to keep his body in shape. “I spent a lot of the first week by myself. I filled in the first two days by sleeping in until lunchtime and then going for a walk. I knew this wasn t the healthiest way to spend my week so I set myself a challenge. As I was in a sling, the only exercise I could do was walk and some very slow floor exercises while being extremely careful. I set the goal of walking 40km for the week. I had to earn my couch time. No more migrating from sleeping in my bed, to sleeping on the couch.” By week five of rehab, relatively small achievements were welcome signs of the ongoing recovery. “It was the first time I could put a pair of socks on with two hands, tie my own shoes, use a knife and fork to cut up food, dry my hair with both hands and carefully open and shut doors with my left arm,” McCarthy said. “It seems strange that such simple things are so exciting but after four weeks of no movement, these tasks become important mile stones in my day to day life.” McCarthy has already played pennant for Victoria Golf Club to shake off five months&apos worth of cobwebs from not playing competitive golf. When he steps on the tee at Keperra next week, he will do so knowing that his shoulder is unhindered and with his amateur and future professional career waiting in front of him. Ryan McCarthy kept a record of his time in rehabilitation detailing the successes and frustations when recovering from injury. Excerpts of that journal have been republished in this article with Ryan&aposs permission.