Former Brisbane Lion Zac O'Brien with possession during the Round 11 AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Carlton Blues on debut at The Gabba in Brisbane, Saturday, May 31, 2014. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Former Brisbane Lion Zac O'Brien with possession during the Round 11 AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Carlton Blues on debut at The Gabba in Brisbane, Saturday, May 31, 2014. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Grafton’s newest chiropractor to offer Tigers AFL experience

IT HAS been a wild ride for Grafton’s newest chiropractor but Dr Zac O’Brien has decided to give the Clarence Valley a red-hot crack.

The 29-year-old Victorian took control of Grafton Chiropractic Centre in November last year after purchasing the business off former owners David Tasker and Karon Fuller.

Once a midfielder for AFL club Brisbane Lions, O’Brien had hung up the boots but said he was keen to share some of his knowledge with the Clarence community.

“I think my playing days are just about over but I’m going to go down and train with the Grafton Tigers,” he said.

“I wasn’t able to play last year because I was pretty busy with work but I’m definitely open to helping them out off the field.

“I’d be happy to see how I can help out at the club with some training and coaching if needed.

“I love that side of the game. Developing people, especially young kids, it’s great to see them giving it a go and giving them someone to look up to.”

O’Brien’s career started in his home state of Victoria, where he played alongside some big names at the Essendon Bombers Victorian Football League side.

“I played for Essendon in the VFL while I was studying at RMIT in Melbourne,” he said.

“I used to play with Tippa (Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti) and a few of the other guys on the current list. They were all really good guys and I had a heap of fun there.

“I used to mentor Tippa, which was pretty cool because he’s gone on to become one of the most exciting players in the AFL.”

O’Brien’s journey continued in Brisbane, where he spent two years at the club.

Zac O'Brien of the Lions looks to hand ball before being tackled by Rory Sloane of the Crows during the Round 21 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the Brisbane Lions at Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, Saturday, Aug 22, 2015. (AAP Image/Ben Macmahon)
Zac O'Brien of the Lions looks to hand ball before being tackled by Rory Sloane of the Crows during the Round 21 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the Brisbane Lions at Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, Saturday, Aug 22, 2015. (AAP Image/Ben Macmahon)

“I was drafted by the Lions in 2013 then I got delisted and played in the South Australian National Football League for West Adelaide,” he said.

“My last club was at Sydney University in the North East Australian Football League.

“That was great fun living in Bondi. We used to travel a lot, playing in Brisbane and the Northern Territory among other places.”

The 29-year-old is thankful for his career and enjoys being able to share his experience at the top of the AFL with his patients.

“I’ve been very fortunate with my footy and the opportunities I’ve had,” he said.

“It helps out with my profession when I get to deal with all the young, fit and healthy people that come through here as well. It’s good to have an insight into the potential injuries they might have and what they’re going through.”

Without regular chiropractic adjustments, O’Brien believes he wouldn’t have found the same success.

“Getting adjusted is really good for you,” he said.

“It helped me get through my career relatively injury-free but it also helped me realise my full potential as an athlete.

“Without it I don’t think I would have made it as far as I did. Now that I have retired, I’m lucky that I’m not carrying any long-term problems like many athletes before me.

“To any athletes out there, get adjusted. It’ll help you avoid injury but it’ll also help your performance as well.”

O’Brien has settled into life in the Clarence Valley, rediscovering his love for hobbies such as surfing and long-distance running.

With the centre on Fitzroy St now open six days a week, O’Brien has had to take on a new chiropractic expert who has a background in another popular sport in the Clarence Valley.

“We’re getting another chiropractor on board,” he said.

“He’s a hockey player so we’ll make sure he’s looking after that community as well.”

It was a tough season for the Grafton Tigers senior AFL team in 2019.
It was a tough season for the Grafton Tigers senior AFL team in 2019.

While O’Brien will bring his knowledge of Aussie rules to the region, he is looking forward to learning more about other local sports and sharing his passion for people.

“I’m really keen to get involved with the community, particularly with sport,” he said.

“Whether it be football, rugby, netball, hockey or any other sport, I’m looking forward to helping out any way I can.

“Sport is such a big part of a community in places like the Clarence Valley. It’s great to see it’s so strong here and hopefully I can do my part to help.”

O’Brien is also looking to put financial support behind teams through sponsorship.

“I’m also keen to get on board and sponsor some clubs,” he said.

For more chiropractic information or to make an appointment, phone 6642 3966 or visit www.graftonchiropracticcentre.com. au.