Ashleigh Nelson is one of the main players of the Australian National Team and, unfortunately, she will not be in the Olympic Games of Rio 2016. In 2004, when she was only 17 years old, the tore he ACL for the first time and sadly, as fate would have it 100 days out from the Rio Olympics, she tore my Anterior Cruciate Ligament during an intra-squad game for the Hockeyroos.
“In an athlete’s mind it was a clear reminder that we had 100 days to perfect those last few skills, 100 days to finalize structures and 100 days till the team was 100% ready to take the field. The last thing that I thought it would mean was 100 days of rehab and 100 days of knowing that I wouldn’t be going to the Olympics.”
“It was such an innocuous incident with my right knee giving way as I planted my foot to pass the ball. In hindsight I wish I had been selfish and ignored my free teammate, but clearly my time of having an intact ACL was up. For those who have not had the pleasure of tearing their ACL, along with their lateral and medial meniscus, with a dose of torn hamstring in there too; well …….. it bloody hurts. Tears were not shed given there was no room for them, amidst the groans and expletives that were pouring out of my mouth.” She says that it was a confusing couple of minutes, unsure if she had blown her kneecap or torn her ACL.
“Sadly despite my best efforts my composure and positivity about the whole situation came to a grinding halt. Tests by the Sports Physician indicating a positive full ACL rupture were confirmed by a MRI shortly after. Being a relatively positive person, I have had many people query if this upset me at all. Short answer is ABSOLUTELY. How could one not be upset?”
She started playing hockey when she was 5 years old and made her international debut with the Australian National Team when she was only 21: “To then not have the opportunity to test and put into place everything that you have worked so hard for is heart breaking. What’s more frustrating is that nothing I do will change the outcome. No matter how hard I rehab, no matter how much I want it, I will not be ready for Rio and that reality is what really hurts.”
From A Hockey World, we would like to wish Ashleigh Nelson a speedy recovery and our most sincere support in this difficult moment.