Cassie Wilson - the Girl who can Never Give Up
"Never give up. It may seem like a long process that is doing nothing, but it takes time for things to heal and you will get there eventually."
There are several things that are common in the weird and wonderful world of aussie rules; from the humble meat pie to the majestic screw-punt.
But Unfortunately, in a sport that is as physical as football, injuries are also just as common.
And if Cassie Wilson has taught us anything; it is that it will take a lot more than an injury to kill her love of the game.
Things were going smoothly for this centre halfback; with three years under her belt with the Happy Valley Football Club and a season spent with South Adelaide’s U17s in 2018.
And she had a growing list of accolades; with a 2018 SANFLW U17s Premiership medallion as well as a Happy Valley U16s Coaches Award from 2017.
Add to this; this years Most Valuable Player award for Happy Valley’s U18s, and it all equals up to make Cassie quite a promising player.
But “the day before trials for South’s 17s this year, I tore my anterior inferior tibiofibular ligament at the distal tibiofibular syndesmosis”.
Which, for those of us who don’t quite know what this means. This means that she “tore a ligament in my high ankle”.
This put her out of action for about 12 weeks, four of which were spent in a moonboot.
“It was stressful. At the beginning it was really hard, and I was pretty down that I couldn't get back to footy fast enough. But now I'm better and rehab was very important and I'm glad I actually did it.”
To understand why she is so happy to be back playing footy; it is essential to look back to before the injury, and you will quickly see how much footy means to her.
Whether it is what she enjoys most about the game;
“I enjoy the teamwork. Working together to stop the other team from scoring and getting it down the field.”
Or one of her favourite moments so far;
“In my first A grade game in the first few minutes, I marked the footy in a contest down in the backline, stopping them from getting close to a goal.”
Or even her feelings towards those who have helped her throughout her footy career;
“The 17s coach last year, Ryan Skouborg, has definitely helped my development into a better player which gave me a taste of the development I could achieve, and made me dedicated to keep getting better.”
“But mostly, I would like to thank my parents. Without them, I wouldn't be able to get anywhere to do any sport, and one day I hope to be as supporting as they are.”
Looking back, it becomes pretty obvious what pushed her to get back to footy.
However, even with her high level of passion and dedication; it still wasn’t easy;
“Lost lots of fitness, muscle and strength. And the foot still hurts with certain things, so it's a long healing process. but I've also been told I have flat feet and need orthotics and all, so they will hopefully help with it.”
But she didn’t sit around feeling sorry for herself; as she tried to help out as much as she could;
“I played with the A grade before the injury and I went to most of their games and watched. Sometimes helping with rotations or other things I was able to do.”
While we are quick to look at what the implications of this injury were to her football; the fact that she was in a moonboot for a month, meant that it impacted everyday life as well;
“Stairs were really hard at school, to go up and down. I had to go slow and held most people up. A few times actually I nearly fell down them trying to get out the way.”
And school is very important when your dream for after it is to “go to uni and do criminology and forensic and analytical science”.
Why forensic science you ask?
“Well I like solving things and all the crime tv shows and forensics appealed more than detective stuff.”
Okay, time to get back on track. Not only was the moonboot a nuisance at school; but it was just generally uncomfortable;
“Especially when it was cold, my toes were exposed and felt like they would fall off some nights.”
However, despite all the implications and setbacks; both in and out of football, Cassie stayed strong and managed to pull through.
“Thank you to my friends and family and teammates encouraging me, really helped me through it.”
She has since been back for almost two months; however, after so much time spent sidelined, it was quite an experience to suddenly be allowed back;
“It was weird. And slightly painful from the jolting and uneven ground. But the more I did it, the better it felt.”
“Weird because I hadn't run in ten weeks.”
Now that she has managed to show everyone just how resilient she is, her goals for the future are;
“My goal is to be able to play every spot sufficiently, and maybe even get drafted in the years to come.”
As for her current preferred position, defence, it is because;
“Probably because I have only ever played in defence, in netball as well. And only have started to move around in footy, and still getting used to it.”
“But it always does feel good to stop goals, rather than getting them. I've experienced both, but the former is a better feeling.”
And after making her comeback, she has recently began working with South Adelaide’s senior women’s side;
“I've only had two kick builders with the women's, but I have learnt a lot in my kicking technique and how to better it.”
At the end of the day, Cassie is still considerably young. So, to be able to overcome an injury that saw her miss three months of football; it shows a great level of resilience and dedication.
And it is this attitude and mindset that has the ability to take Cassie’s football down a very bright path because she has already proved, that it will take a lot more than an injury to stop her.
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