Westfield Matilda and Sydney FC midfielder Amy Harrison is currently rehabbing a second major injury in her young career.
Harrison always dreamt of making it big.
Through hard work, her dream came true by playing football at the elite level in the W-League for Sydney FC and representing the Westfield Matildas.
But injuries have slowed her journey at crucial times.
A year ago, Harrison finally returned from a serious Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) and meniscus tear sustained in late 2015, an injury that stymied her chances of making the Olympics 2016 squad.
Over this last year, she played for the Matildas - most recently against China in Victoria - while turning out for the resurgent Sky Blues in the W-League.
Life was looking up. But, heartbreakingly, a year after her comeback, she tore her ACL and MCL again on her other knee playing for the Sky Blues against Newcastle Jets earlier this month.
Here, in Amy’s first blog, the 21-year-old sheds light on her psyche and how she’s approaching her recovery...
AMY HARRISON: IN HER OWN WORDS
I went into shock.
Being carried off it was like, ‘not again’.
I’ve been through it once; I don’t want to go through this again.
I knew how hard it was to get back.
I felt that feeling in my knee. I knew what it was. And I went into shock. I was emotional initially. I just couldn’t believe it had happened again.
So, I had a scan the next morning and received the dreaded call about an hour later confirming I had ruptured my ACL and MCL.
Luckily this time, the extent of damage in my knee wasn’t as bad as last time.
A real positive!
I didn’t really dwell on it. It was more, ‘Okay, I can beat this, I’ve done it before and I can get back. Let’s do the work to fix this.’
Going into surgery this time was a lot tougher because I knew what it’d be like. I knew what to expect, I knew the pain I was about to be in. I don’t like hospitals so this time around it was pretty daunting but I knew I was in good hands.
I could’ve had my surgery straight away but I waited about a week for the operation because I wanted the same surgeon I had last time.
His name is Dr. David Wood from the Mater Hospital, North Sydney. He’s a top surgeon and a great guy.
We went with the same type of graft, my hamstring, as we were both very happy with the result of it on my right knee. So I felt more comfortable sticking with Dr Wood again. I saw him on Monday 15th of January and had the op on the 17th.
For that week prior to surgery, it’s a slow-burner. You can’t really do anything.
I hate it. I had to wear my brace all day and night because of my torn MCL, so my nights of sleep weren’t the comfiest!
It’s a period where you wish you could wake up and it all be a dream but the reality of it is what’s done is done. It’s tough.
I was always busy, had family and friends over so I didn’t have time to sit on my own and dwell on it. And that makes a massive difference.
This time, I think people really felt for me doing it again. The support I’ve received has been incredible; I have definitely felt the love and well wishes from everyone. My house turned into a florist, I received so many gifts and care packages, movie vouchers and books.
Corey Gameiro, who plays for Brisbane Roar, got in contact with me and we had a great conversation about dealing with a second ACL reconstruction and things that helped him during his rehab the second time around.
It’s really nice having someone who understands what I’m going through to support me and give me advice.
It’s really inspiring seeing him back playing after three reconstructions. A top guy to have in my corner helping me get through this.
Surgery went well so this week it’s about icing and getting the swelling down. I’m on crutches at the moment but starting to progressively put weight on my knee.
Hopefully, by the end of the week, I’ll start walking. Hopefully.
I’m still on the painkillers but I’m lowering my dosage progressively. The pain is easing now.
I also have a Game Ready machine that Sydney FC and the PFA organised for me which has been extremely beneficial. It’s amazing, my family and friends think I’m mad because I’m so addicted to it.
It’s a machine that reduces swelling, relieves pain and compresses my knee all at once. I have it on one degree, so it’s cold! I go 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off for a while and then bend and straighten my knee out.
On the 29th of January, I’ll go see my surgeon again for a check-up.
I’ll start physio and get back in the gym and start my rehab with Tony Wignell, he’s the Matildas’ strength and conditioning coach who also works at Westfields Sports High, where I went to school.
I still watch football. I ice my knee and watch the W-league games.
I know it’s football that’s done this to me.
But I still love the game.
I can’t wait till I’m back on the field again.