Rugby League Test Centre Terry Hill with a snapped AC joint. Treatment from Shoulder Specialist
Article from Rugby League Week
Who has the 'Best hands' in Rugby League?
As far as the players are concerned, it's a guy called "Longy".
His full name is Duy Long Nguyen, 33, a martial arts expert who fled Vietnam as a refugee and now puts the finishing touches on some of the biggest names in the game, including Manly's Test centre, Terry Hill.
In fact, Hill is adamant that without him he would not be taking the field this season. Hill has a snapped AC joint in his shoulder which for all intents and purposes should require major surgery. But with basically his bare hands, Longy is confident he can help get Hill through another gruelling season.
Trained in unarmed combat by Korean soldiers in Vietnam, in addition to fighting (at 11 he became the youngest ever South Vietnamese to earn a black belt in karate), Longy learned healing techniques from soldiers.
"Not only break, learn to fix," as he puts it. With a variety of masters, (including Chinese, Korean, ethnic bush people in Vietnam and Thai monks in Japan), Longy has developed a unique healing approach.
It involves a combination of acupressure, massage, stretching and manipulation of energy lines and pressure points.
The players swear by his treatments — he has a photo album full of appreciative endorsements signed by players from virtually every club.
Sydney City's resident cop Sean Garlick "discovered" Longy when he walked into the Maroubra Police Station one day to renew his security licence. The pair got talking and Longy gave Garlick a quick demonstration and managed to relieve him of a chronic back problem within minutes. Since then Longy has been a regular member of Paul Vautin’s Queensland squads and Bob Fulton's Australian teams.
His association represents one of the most unlikely connections in Rugby League, a fact which is not lost on the likable Longy.
He jokes about how he saw his first game of Rugby League as an eight-year-old in Vietnam and now he is proudly wearing Australia's colours. "I first saw Rugby League played in Longbinh by soldiers in the Australian Army," explained Longy. "I called it 'Aussie Judo' and now, 25 years on, I am part of `Aussie Judo'."
One thing's for sure, he is certainly the first Vietnamese to do a lap of honor at the SFS on grand final day.
That took place last year when Manly saluted. Hill takes up the story: "We were doing the lap of the ground and I thought to myself 'where's Longy, where's Longy'. At that moment I looked up at the big screen and there he was lifting the JJ Giltinan Shield ... what a bloody classic!"
Longy works on Hill's wonky shoulder twice a week and on the morning of every match.
Longy left Vietnam in 1980 after 15 attempts to escape and came to Australia as a refugee with his six brothers and sisters.
He finally fulfilled his dream when his family — who were among 48 refugees crammed in a small boat — were picked up by a Japanese ship after the over packed escape craft sank in the Indo-China Sea.
The remarkable determination his family showed to survive countless ordeals has been evidenced again in their new home. Longy's two brothers have also worked hard to achieve success under trying conditions — his younger brother just graduated as a doctor, while his older brother is a professor.
While they could pass on to him some conventional tips, Longy prefers to adopt the techniques he learned as a child during the war.
"In the Vietnam war, most injuries were fixed by hands and what you saw around you," he said. "There were no X-rays or anti-inflammatories — just bush herbs, acupuncture needles, Tiger Balm and your hands."
Now, in a different era and in a distant country, it's proving as successful a recipe for sportsmen as it did for soldiers. Why else would the catch cry of so many of the game's elite be: "Longy .. . the only man I'll let touch me."
Longy has opened his Sydney pain clinic to the public in support of his charity. He specialises in back and neck pain, shoulder pain, sport injuries, ac joint injury and other common conditions. For further information please go to the Pain Clinic page.
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