We sat down with NSW Swifts player, Claire O’Brien, to discuss her netball career, her achilles injury and how her recovery is coming along.
How long have you been playing netball?
I’ve been playing since I was about 8 years old and initially played in a team with my older sister.
How long have you been playing with the NSW Swifts?
I have been playing as a contracted player for two years now, I was a replacement player in 2016, and 2017 was my rookie year.
How did you sustain your injury?
I ruptured my Achilles tendon about half way through our 2018 season. We had just come off the back of a big weekend in Queensland, it was a quick turnaround from Brisbane’s game to the following week with the Vixens but I remember feeling so pumped as we just came short against the Firebirds. It was like any other day at training when I remember pushing off the cone and just falling like there was nothing supporting my lower leg.
Initially, I thought I ran into a pole or someone had nicked me in the back of the calf, but after searching around for reassurance I realised there was no one and nothing around me.
You always read about these injuries happening to other people it’s just the nature of sport, but you never think it’s going to happen to you so that was probably the most scariest part about it.
The thought of being out from Netball for so long, and recovering from an ankle injury that was so foreign was just surreal. I sobbed pretty much for the rest of that day and night and took me a good couple of days to come to terms with it.
What has been your process for recovery and getting back on court?
It’s been a long one but I’ve enjoyed challenging myself in a way that I would have never imagined. Lots and lots of calf raises in my rehab to help build the strength back up in the muscle. I’ve been given the whole 12 months to get back out there and after running/sprinting I will be able to do more explosive movements with change of direction, and then match play in the longer term. But currently I’m still a fair bit away from that, I’m just working on my strength in the gym and hopefully continue to get some more running in there. I ran (about 6 months post op) in this first block of preseason which was super exciting.
What has been the biggest challenge in your recovery?
There’s been so many challenges to get to this point of my rehab and I feel like new ones are constantly arising. Obviously you come to training and want to be in everything – that’s the whole reason we do what we do, being amongst it and working together.
I guess for me one of the biggest challenges has been focusing on what I can do and not what I can’t. Post op was another tough one, our season obviously continued and I found it hard to watch the girls at home.
I had a massive case of it but I was super lucky I had friends and family always visiting and catching me up on everything else that was happening. Being so dependant on others during that time to get simple things done like showering, driving, walking, training, appointments was annoying to say the least, but sooner or later you work out ways around it. Again so thankful I had my family there and Swifts support all the way through.
Claire O' Brien visited us at our flagship store in Sydney for her ruptured Achilles tendon. She was 3D measured in-store on the BodyTronic 600 scanning system.
We at Bauerfeind fitted her with the AchilloTrain Ankle Support to treat her Achilles ankle injury. “It helped me a lot. Not only because it provided great stabilization and gave more confidence. At first , my Achilles tendon used to swell up at the end of the day. This got much better thanks to the support’s compression”, explains the now 22-year old netball player.
Bauerfeind has helped elite athletes including Olympic stars and netball players to prevent and treat shoulder, elbow, knee, ankle and wrist injuries. Visit us in-store if you are feeling niggles in your joint or have been diagnosed and recommended a brace as part of your treatment.