The inspiring health journey of Mick O’Dowd in partnership with Healthstin captured the attention of the judges of Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) and helped O’Dowd garner the much-coveted ESSA Client of the Year Award for 2023.
An avid lifelong outdoorsman, O’Dowd had a life-threatening bout with sepsis way back in December 2018 that required prolonged confinement at the Intensive Care Unit and eventually, the amputation of his limbs. The Healthstin team of Allied Health Experts played an instrumental role in helping O’Dowd get back his health and life back on track through a customised Hydrotherapy program that supported him in recovering his functional capacity, mobility, and independence.
With steely determination, O’Dowd persevered and worked hard in the pool to build up his strength and stamina. Months after doing laps in the water, he has gone back to sailing and has set his sights on eventually returning to diving in the near future.
Patrick McInnes, one of Healthstin’s Exercise Physiologist who has been working and guiding Mick’s Hydrotherapy sessions recalled Mick O’Dowd’s dogged persistence. “He started out swimming slow laps on his back using fins and a floatation neck pillow. After a few months, his cardiovascular endurance improved so much that we progressed to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Before long, Mick had adjusted well so we had to think of a way to make the workouts more challenging, so we collaborated and settled on using a parachute to add resistance,” says Mcinness.
He adds, “Not much later, Mick has progressed to swimming on his stomach using a snorkel plus arm fins that he had 3D printed himself – that’s how determined he was in getting back his function and independence.”
Mick O’Dowd’s remarkable story is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit and resilience in the face of extreme adversity. His health journey continues to inspire people everywhere, proving that a fighting spirit coupled with the support of well-trained health professionals can do wonders for people who have gone through such life-altering health challenges.
Founded in 1991, ESSA is Australia’s premier membership and accreditation body for tertiary-trained exercise and sports science professionals. It holds its award competition yearly and the awards are much coveted in the health industry as the ultimate symbols of excellence among exercise professionals.