Goodbye rehab, hello 2018!

IT IS 2018 AND I AM BACK ON THE PITCH!!!! GB hockey centralised training has restarted in a busy and important year for us with the Commonwealth Games and World Cup and with two weeks of training complete, I am building back to where I left off before picking up my injury last summer.

It was a frustrating and challenging end to 2017 with me picking up a fairly bad ankle injury in one of our last preparation games and 10 days out from the European Championships. I think initially when I went over on it I knew it wasn’t great as I couldn’t get up, however it wasn’t until a few days later when the scan results came back the reality crept in with 3 torn ligaments and a lot of rehab coming my way!

For the early stages I think I was mostly just in shock at the injury I had picked up and because I was in a boot and on crutches there was literally nothing I could do, so I felt fairly distanced and okay as can be about the situation. The middle and latter stages of rehab proved most challenging mentally and emotionally and really tested my ability to handle my thoughts and feelings under stress. I would generally say I am a pretty laid back, happy and adaptable person and it takes a lot to get me stressed and angry but this definitely hit me hard mid injury and I had no idea how to cope with being in such a way. Most of the time I just tried to hide it and often just sat at home in tears and hated how much the injury had gotten to me.

I realised more than ever how much I do like to be in control of things and ultimately my ankle was in charge for the majority of rehab, healing at its own pace and dictating what I could and couldn’t do. Anyone who is physically active will understand the frustration of not being able to train hard or play the sport you love, so many a conversation with our GB Hockey psychologist later, we had some ideas in place to help me get back to being me. If you are currently injured maybe these could help you?

  • Accept the injury and understand it isn’t going to be a quick fix so get a sense of reality from the physio/ doctor as to timescales and best and worst case scenarios.
  • Create some stability by making sure plans are in place as best they can be for routine and set achievable targets maybe in other areas away from my ankle.
  • I didn’t do this but in hindsight it would have been helpful, write a diary to track the injury as it is very easy to get lost in the stress and feel like nothing is improving. You make more progress than you think and you can see how far you have come on the days/weeks you are feeling low.
  • There will be good and bad days but use family and friends around you to keep you in a good place… or in my case drink lots of Yorkshire Tea and relax :0) The less stressed you are, the quicker you heal!

The latter stages are still difficult as you realise just how strong, fit and agile we are as hockey players. I did most of my conditioning on the watt bike and so even though I had a base fitness, starting back some running and hockey fitness I felt dreadful! But the time did come, returning to play after 5 months rehab and I was feeling quite apprehensive. Even putting full hockey kit on made me feel nervous but I just had to trust that my ankle was okay and it just needed to get back used to the hockey load and movements again. I am finding my feet, even though my change of direction needs some work, and dusting the cobwebs off. It feels good to be back playing and also back amongst the girls. I will be giving it everything over these next few months to get myself back in good fitness and ready for an exciting year ahead. Let’s do this!!