Hockeyroo Georgia Wilson had her Commonwealth Games dreams torn away by a knee injury early last year. Whilst shattered, 22-year-old Georgia refocused her goals and has just completed a 12-month rehabilitation with the ultimate goal in mind - Tokyo 2020. Georgia has shared her story with us over a three part series. Read on for the third instalment.
Last month marked the official ‘twelve months.’
A full year since rupturing my anterior cruciate ligament and undergoing an intensive and full knee reconstruction in the hope of one day having the opportunity to return playing for my county again and represent the Australian Hockeyroos.
I suppose I could describe it as frustration. The ‘twelve months’ have come and gone and in all honesty, I’m below where I thought I would be. My basic skills are well, very basic.
I curse. A whole range of terrible words that are normally non-existent in my very g-rated dictionary. Words that creep out to describe the impatience, frustration and disappointment when I mistrap, mispass and mislead.
I’m embarrassed. For so long I’d envisioned reaching that twelve-month mark and suddenly finding myself back to where I last left off. Like many things I’ve discovered over the past year, I’ve learnt that unfortunately it doesn’t happen quite that easily.
See that’s the problem you encounter when you’re a perfectionist. When you so desperately want complete control over your body and mind. Hungry for that perfect performance.
The stage I’m at is a difficult one. I don’t want to give myself an excuse because I’m no longer technically in rehab. Equally however I’m being dishonest if I try to convince myself that I’m in a similar situation to that of my teammates. I haven’t played an official game of hockey in over 14 months, let alone an international match.
What I’ve come to terms with though is that the perfection I so badly long for will have to patiently wait until my body catches up with all of the great acts my mind wants it to do.
It’s so easy to forget and ignore the distance travelled when returning back into an elite sporting environment. We frequently flood our head with thoughts of self-doubt, judgement and worthlessness. Comparison with our teammates and worst of all our previous sporting self. The player we once were before our injury.
Instead, we need to focus on and remind ourselves about the learnings and growth we’ve achieved as individuals during our time away from the sports we love so much. Over the past year, I’ve learnt what it means to really work hard. A type of work different to that I’d ever invested. Dragging myself out of bed in the middle of winter to run a 9km interval session alone in the cold. The frustration at being the first in the gym yet the last to leave. The intimate respect for the hamstring curl machine that only evolves after completing hundreds of reps.
I’ve learnt that having to rely on the individuals surrounding me is not in fact a sign of weakness but instead a powerful resource. The endless phone calls and daily messages of support I received by those I love to provide strength when I myself had lost all hope.
Above all, I’ve learnt that I’m determined. Determined to join the selective group of athlete names I wrote on my wall when the initial injury occurred. Athletes including Lydia Lassila, Jamie Dwyer, Katrina Powell, Daniel Menzel, Brodie Summer, Alex Johnson and my biggest inspiration and teammate Stephanie Kershaw who embarks on her rehabilitation after tragically tearing her second ACL last month.
Names that were scribed onto my wall not so much for their on-field achievements or sporting accolades but instead for the dedication and perseverance quietly invested out of sight and away from all of the shining stadium lights. The selective group of individuals who made the decision to conquer the task given to them and silently devote the same amount of work and recover from the same gruelling injury.
It still feels surreal that my first international appearance is scheduled to take place in two days’ time against the current world ranked number ones in Melbourne. And as I quietly sit on the plane, and write the third and final blog of my three-part rehabilitation series, I feel like I’m quite literally and figuratively closing a chapter I’ll forever be proud to reflect upon.
I’m faithful that my ACL rupture will become in time one of the greatest challenges I’ve had to overcome in my sporting career. The sense of pride to return from such a devastating injury already outweighs the small pile of medals that lie tucked within my cupboard draws.
Having hope that my actions over the past year will allow me to join the selective group of phenomenal athletes who were handed the vital task of giving hope to others who now face with the challenge.
To not only return to international competition but to one day have my name scribbled on a young athletes wall, helping them take the first step on their journey up the insurmountable mountain I stared at only twelve months earlier. Instilling in them a confidence that it can and most definitely will be done.
You can follow Georgia on instagram @the_nourished_athlete and at her website www.thenourishedathlete.com.au
Georgia uses our Medium Universal to help her recovery from her ACL injury.