Miracle return of Bronco 'Hulk' Haas all about science

Joel Gould
AAP
Payne "Incredible Hulk'' Haas will play for Brisbane after an injury scare last week. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)
Payne "Incredible Hulk'' Haas will play for Brisbane after an injury scare last week. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

Brisbane prop Payne Haas, described as the “Incredible Hulk”, has made an incredible recovery to be fit to play this week, but his return is rooted in science.

Haas was referred to as the Magic Round miracle when he was practically carried off the ground in the second half of the 13-12 win over Manly last Friday night and could not put any weight through his foot, only to return minutes later.

The NSW prop has been named to play Gold Coast at Suncorp Stadium, along with fullback Reece Walsh (knee) and Billy Walters (wrist), who both missed last week’s win.

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Respected Brisbane physiotherapist Brien Seeney, known on social media site X as NRL Physio, explained why the complaint was clarified as a nerve injury, even though one of the defenders contacted the outer side of Haas’s calf with their knee.

“In through that specific area of the calf there runs a pretty significant nerve that supplies a lot of electricity to the lower part of your foot,” Seeney said.

“If you get hit in the wrong spot it is almost like momentarily cutting off the signal of that nerve to the lower foot.

“It was really interesting that they said it was more impacting his big toe, a little bit different to how it usually presents, but if you get hit in the wrong spot it shuts down that nerve.

“The good news is that it recovers really quickly, and the example I always use is that it is just like hitting your funny bone in your elbow, which is just an exposed nerve.”

A blow, as occurred with Haas, can cause pain and tingles, but in a couple of minutes a person can be completely fine.

“Moving forward I think we have no concerns with Payne. I think he copped almost a funny-bone injury,” Seeney said.

Brisbane teammate Kotoni Staggs, on the injured list, said Haas was a superhero most of the time.

“The Incredible Hulk as they say,” Staggs said.

“I didn’t see him go off, but I’ve seen the replay and I thought he was gone for the game.

“It was pretty wild when I looked back up and he was on the field.”

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