The true mental toll of season-ending injuries

Nina Morrison is a gifted, hard-working football player.

In 2018, she was chosen as Geelong’s number one pick, despite only picking up footy two years prior. She had previously been a long-distance runner, as well as playing tennis and soccer at high-school level.

In her under 18s year, she shared the TAC Cup best and fairest alongside Maddy Prespakis, playing an outstanding year for the Geelong Falcons and winning Vic Country’s MVP award.

Her outstanding performances through the middle of the ground landed her a spot on the wing in the under 18s All-Australian team.

She lit the competition on fire in her debut against Collingwood, racking up 22 disposals, laying 8 tackles, kicking the winning point to seal the match and earning a Rising Star nomination for her best on ground performance.

This kid was going to change the AFLW landscape in her first year.

Then the knee injury happened.

It was an innocuous incident at a Thursday night training session that would leave her needing a full ACL reconstruction, missing the rest of the 2019 season.

I spoke to her on my podcast back in October of 2019, as her rehabilitation was still ongoing.

Nina seemed incredibly positive and determined, almost like she had already convinced herself that this was just a minor setback and she would stop at nothing to get back on the field.

“Everything seems to be on track”, she said.

“Hopefully we get a full season in this time around”.

And she very nearly did, in 2020.

In five games Morrison averaged 15.2 disposals, 4.6 tackles and kicked a goal against the Dockers.

But in Round 6 against the Roos, everyone at the Cats’ worst fears were realised when Nina went down early in the match, later confirmed as yet another ACL.

The mental toll that this has taken on her is clear to see, particularly in her piece for the newly formed Part Timers Media, a platform aiming to provide a voice for female athletes, run by female athletes.

I highly recommend giving it a read. As someone who’s witnessed first-hand just how down to earth and no nonsense Nina is, seeing her innermost thoughts laid out for all to see is powerful.

I’ll let the article speak for itself.

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