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Overcoming injury and meeting Royalty. By Natasha Brennan

15th July 2015
So since my last blog and the excitement of qualifying for the Olympics; things have been a little calmer for me. As I mentioned before I sadly injured my knee at London 7’s and subsequently had to have an operation after our qualification tournament in Amsterdam. I tore my lateral meniscus (cartilage) which meant I had to have some of my cartilage removed. It was a fairly standard procedure but one that will take around 4 months recovery. I am currently 4 weeks post operation and starting to make some really good progress which is satisfying as it means I am moving in a positive direction.

I think as a rugby player, or any sports person for that matter, dealing with injury is certainly one of the most difficult aspects of being an athlete. I think when you are injured it is the doubts that can enter your head at points such as “will I make it back into the team? will I come back in as good/ better form? will I be the player I was before I got injured?”. These are the sorts of thoughts that go through every athletes head, and can leave you feeling lost, which is why it is so important to remain really positive and constantly set yourself small, achievable goals. I think by setting objectives, and then achieving them it helps give you confidence; keeping you positive and giving you direction to your ultimate goal, which keeps you motivated to keep pushing forward.

While being injured is never great, for me the summer is probably the best time to be injured as it means I have the time to get really fit without the pressure of competition; as in theory our next big 7’s competition will be our first tournament in the World Series which will be in December. So my days are currently consisting of a lot of training, physiotherapy, rehabilitating, chilling with my dog and watching a lot of sport!!

While watching sport, when you are injured can be a little frustrating at points, it is also extremely exciting, especially when British sport has been doing so amazingly well. Of course I am a little bias but the last 6 weeks has been an amazing time for women’s sport. Shortly after us women qualified for Rio, the women’s GB hockey team also went on to qualify for Rio in Valencia and going on to win the World League which is a fantastic achievement, especially after beating the likes of Argentina and China. Then there is the England women’s football team and what an amazing job they did in Canada! They did so well to beat Germany to achieve a bronze medal. However their semi- final against Japan was the ultimate demonstration of how cruel sport can be; but credit to each player to bounce back and finish their tournament on a high! Then there has been Wimbledon...and how exciting was that? Heather Watson’s game against Serena Williams was phenomenal and a fantastic display of world class tennis. Heather Watson did such an amazing job, and literally played her heart out. I really felt for her, along with the rest the nation as I couldn’t help but feel that she did have the better of the match. It must have been a surreal experience for her playing against her childhood hero. Hopefully this will be a turning point in her career and give her the confidence to push through the rankings as she was certainly playing way beyond her ranking of 59!

Following on from the subject of tennis and Wimbledon, I am extremely excited and privileged to have been invited to attend Wimbledon in the Royal box along with the rest of the World Cup winning squad for lunch and a day packed full of World Class tennis on Centre Court. This will no doubt be a surreal experience, as every year I watch Wimbledon, I am always interested to see the exciting celebrities that are invited to the Royal box and now this will be me with my team mates! Unlike Sports Personality of the Year, we are not going to be dressed in the same outfits, so picking a suitable one was certainly something that required lots of time and careful planning! Especially as this is probably the closest opportunity I will have of bumping into Price Harry; wishful thinking anyway! :) I hope in my next blog I will be able to report on my exciting adventures of Wimbledon and rehab developments! Till then wish me luck in the Royal Box :)
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