Within hours of his hip replacement surgery, Conor McConnell was ready for action.
On Thursday, a few days out from his 33rd birthday, the Marrar resident became one of the first in the Riverina to receive a same-day discharge hip replacement at Wagga Base Hospital.
"I'm still using the crutches and my hip is a little sore, but it's unbelievable how quickly I've gotten up," Mr McConnell said.
Still, in his early 30s, Mr McConnell is among the younger recipients of a hip replacement, which of course has aided in his swift recovery.
"I had leukaemia as a teenager, and it's just a guess, but the chemo may have done a bit of damage to my hip," Mr McConnell said.
"I've been playing footy for 15 years, so it's just slowly deteriorated."
The surgery may mean he will have to bid farewell to the field and making spectating his only sport.
"I don't think it's advised to play contact sports after a hip replacement, though I would love to play again," he said.
"I might have to see how it goes but I don't think I'll be back on the field."
Though the procedure is available overseas and in some places in Australia, the first operation of this type in the Riverina took place last Friday.
Mr McConnell's surgery was, therefore, the second in the region.
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It was completed by orthopaedic surgeon Dr Andrew Clout, who had experience with the procedure overseas before returning to Wagga two years ago.
"This is not new in the world, but it is new for our region, so the patients have been understandably a bit nervous before their surgery," Dr Clout said.
"We've limited [the surgery] to only very select people who are younger than 75, healthy and who have a good home environment for the recovery.
"So far, they've all done very well."
The success of the operations, Dr Clout said, came down to the team effort with anaesthesiologist Dr Robert Easther, nursing unit manager Ricky Tasker and orthopaedic physiotherapist Nompilo Mthunzi.
"Hip replacements are a standard operation at the hospital, but they will usually require at least an overnight stay," said Mr Tasker.
"We would expect them to be in the hospital for between one and five days, so to have someone up and walking in four hours is impressive."
The recovery is aided by the use of a spinal anaesthetic drug, which Dr Easther said is "ultra short-acting".
"It wears off much quicker allowing them to mobilise quickly," Dr Easther said.
"The goal is to get them moving again as quickly as possible so we're all working together for that. With this drug, they can avoid the sedative effects of a general anaesthetic.
"Normally, the surgery will take one-and-a-half hours and we've been able to cut the recovery from the anaesthetic down to around one or two hours from when they're out of surgery."
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In 14 years as a physiotherapist, Ms Mthunzi was taken aback by the speed of the recoveries.
"Knowing that they'd have to be in the hospital a little while, we did hold back on the therapy in the past, but the pain management, in this case, is incredible," she said.
Ms Mthunzi runs several physio sessions with the patients, before and after their surgery.
"After the surgery, we get them up and walking around, using the crutches, even going downstairs."
But even though his recovery has been exceptionally fast, it has been a long road to this point.
"My surgery was postponed in April because of the virus, so I was just happy to get it done," Mr McConnell said.
"I was disappointed then when it was postponed, but I understood why. There were people who were far worse off than me."
Currently study veterinarian sciences, Mr McConnell is keen to spend the next month taking it easy with his new baby and wife by his side before he's heading back to class.
"The lectures are online still, but next month we're heading back in groups for our surgery classes so I wanted to be recovered by then," he said.
"I'm in a good position, I've got my wife here on maternity leave. She's a nurse so I'm set up well."
A competitive sheepdog trainer, he also has seven pups on his property that will take a good deal of his attention as he continues his recovery.