Devon Henson‘s dream was to play rugby at the highest level. “From the age of six, all I ever wanted was to become a professional rugby player.”

His single-minded dedication and focus ensured his trajectory throughout his school rugby career remained on track.

“In 2012 I played in the Grant Khomo u/16A provincial Lions team and was chosen for the high-performance SA side. In 2013 I played in the Golden Lions u/18A Craven Week side.” Based on his performances, he also signed a two-year contract with the Blue Bulls High Performance squad between 2015-2017.

The turning point on his path

However, a serious injury put paid to his dreams and aspirations. “I sustained a Carotid Artery Dissection (CAD) at the beginning of 2014, which meant I was unable to fulfil my contractual commitments.”

A carotid artery dissection is the breakdown of layers in the carotid artery that causes the wall to tear, which can cause an irregular narrowing of the opening in the vessel, known as stenosis, and a flap of the inner vessel wall, known as occlusion.

“I took a knock to my jaw but carried on playing, thinking it was a minor injury. But after the game, I began losing feeling in my left hand and arm. That’s when I knew there was something wrong. My sense that everything wasn’t ‘fine’ was confirmed when I collapsed on the floor after I lost feeling in the entire left side of my body.”

Devon’s CAD was a major turning point in his life as he needed to completely change his life’s direction. “After signing with the Blue Bulls, I believed that I was well on my way to making rugby a professional career for myself and realise my life-long dream. At that point, I had dedicated the majority of my life towards training for peak performance.”

Understandably, when the doctor told Devon that he would never be able to play contact sports again, he had to take a step back and re-evaluate what he was going to do with his life.

Focused on fitness

“The experience taught me that in life, nothing is set in stone. While I decided to shift my focus, my new path in life wasn’t a complete departure from the rugby lifestyle.”

Devon’s passion for health and fitness, which was instilled by his father Craig and honed alongside his brother, Chad, ensured he maintained his focus on the industry, but rather than focus on becoming a professional sportsman, he chose to help others reach their goals.

“Specifically, I wanted to create opportunities for those that previously didn’t have access to the means needed to build their strength and fitness.”

So, together with Chad, the duo created MoveFit™, a portable trailer-based weight training system that creates opportunities to introduce traditional functional training, while holding onto the fundamental strengths of conventional weight training systems, in areas that have no access to conventional training facilities.

“I’ve always looked up to Chad and learnt a lot from him, not just in training but many other aspects in life. He taught me that consistency is key when it comes to training and that there are no quick fixes,” explains Devon.

And the aspirational lifestyle and physique that Devon subsequently crafted have helped to advance his career in the industry, which includes a sponsorship from leading local supplement brand SSN.

“For me, fitness is about having a balanced lifestyle of healthy eating, regular exercise and just being active as often as possible. I look at fitness and training as the foundations of my life. What you put in is what you get out. Fitness allows me to express myself and push myself in a way that few other aspects in life can.”