“IN MAY this year, I was nowhere.”

There had been just four games for David Cuningham in 1,000 days prior to his return. Just four months ago, he wasn’t training, let alone playing.

After a sequence of knee, calf and shoulder injuries, Cuningham finally got his AFL return after a consistent run in the VFL, and has played 11 consecutive games since then. 

What got him through?

“My love for the game,” Cuningham told FOX Sports News.


“Watching the boys train, I was itching to get out there and the motivation to get back never really wavered. I hadn’t played in two years, I hadn’t really trained and I hadn’t done a pre-season.

“It was a very tough two years on the sidelines. I was spending a lot of hours in the gym, it gets pretty depressing in there! To finally get over that, to just be out playing VFL at the start was such a dream to come back to play footy. It’s been nice to string 11 games together and contribute to the team.”

There was plenty of frustration for Cuningham over the years, but now that he’s had a taste of it, he doesn’t want to let it slip.


Described by some teammates as a perfectionist in his preparation, Cuningham has left no stone unturned in his recovery, putting him in the position to back things up each week.

“Definitely the calf injuries [were the most frustrating] . . . there were some tendon issues going on in both, so I added in some isometric exercises to get that tendon healthy: that’s fixed a few of the problems,” he said.

“I do them every days, I come in on my days off to get that done. I’m only in for 20 minutes, but I do it just to get it right: I probably won’t have to do it as often in the future, but at the moment I’m sticking to it.”