Sara shares her toughest injury challenge
JUST mentioning the words "knee reconstruction'' can cause fear and uncertainty. It's a setback that can take months to overcome and there's no guarantees the injured sportsperson can play at the same level again.
However, it's not all doom and gloom.
Ipswich-bred Australian Country hockey captain Sara Rogers is among those needing a knee reconstruction this year.
Despite some setbacks following surgery, she's confident of returning to the field next year.
As a personal trainer, Rogers can offer an honest and helpful insight into how to deal with a knee reconstruction and importantly, keeping positive.
"It is becoming more common,'' Rogers said of knee reconstructions.
"I don't know if it's more common for me because I've done it now and pay more attention to the news about it, but it is very common, especially in female sports.
"Anything like hockey, netball, touch just because of the high impact we have lots of twisting, repeated movements, turning, that type of thing.
"I've unfortunately seen quite a few girls do it.''
Rogers, 29, needed major left knee surgery in June after what appeared an innocuous tackle. She was representing South West Queensland at the annual Super League hockey championships in Brisbane.
"It just ruptured my cruciate ligament. It just snaps,'' she said.
"I was running and a girl sort of caught me blind-sided. Her knee hit my knee and I ended up on the ground. She didn't even fall over at all.
"It wasn't hurting so I went back on the field then it (the knee) sort of gave way.''
After surgery, Rogers had to wear a brace for four weeks.
"It was more just to protect my graft in case I got tripped over or anything like that,'' she said.
"The first four weeks are very very important to protect what they have just inserted.''
That is often a screw through the femur and tibia during the operation, using a piece of hamstring.
Rogers had some complications after surgery which put her back "quite a bit''.
"They had to take the screws out and everything and then I lost all mobility so I was in hospital again,'' she said.
However, when everything goes to plan under normal circumstances, those having a knee reconstruction can focus on their rehabilitation.
"It's usually around the six week mark you can start progressing,'' the fitness manager said.
"It is about getting back that strength and obviously a range of movement in that joint again.''
Rogers recommends rehab with a personal trainer in tandem with a physiotherapist, who can provide valuable guidance.
She said exercise every day was important.
"I'll be following physio's orders because I don't want to have to do this ever again,'' she said.
Having fitness knowledge has helped Rogers understand what is happening and how to cope with any setbacks.
"I have good access to a gym as well and that's what it is about,'' she said, having worked as a personal trainer and manager for 12 years at Healthworks Ipswich.
The premiership-winning Hancock Brothers captain has been pleased with her recovery in recent weeks after fearing she may not be able to play hockey again.
Now, she's keen to rejoin her hockey teammates in the new year.
"It's one of those things that happens at elite level as well,'' she said of serious knee injuries.
Keep involved on road to recovery
TO help keep positive through her knee reconstruction rehabilitation Sara Rogers has been doing some hockey coaching.
"I'm going away as an assistant coach with the Australian Country team in April and I do enjoy coaching a lot so it's given me another avenue to be involved in the sport,'' she said.
She said the toughest part during the rehabilitation process was being patient.
"Now that I'm walking without limping, I feel like I can run,'' she said.
However, she said you have to make sure you are right.
She said staying positive through the bad days was essential.
"There's continual setbacks. It's hard,'' she said. "Especially when you hit your five, six, seven month mark, it starts to feel quite strong.
"I do know speaking to the physio that a lot of people think that they can go back.
"But it is definitely a nine to 12 month injury.''
Rogers said the end goal was restoring stability and strength to the joint.
"That's the motivation - to get back out there,'' she said.
"It's going to be a mental game more than anything. Trusting the joint again.
"The rehab is the hardest part. The surgery happens. You don't have to do anything.
"It's that seven, eight, 10 month period that you need to do your exercises every single day without fail.''