Inspiration in Ms Malysha Kelly's courage

Inspiration in Ms Malysha Kelly's courage

Monday, December 28, 2020

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Even those who watch and enjoy sport to the fullest, all too often take their entertainers for granted.

Many people fail to take into consideration the years of intense preparation, hard work, sacrifice — literally putting the body on the line — which goes into making a successful athlete, regardless of the sporting discipline.

Those of us looking on from the outside can only imagine how difficult it must be for competitors who keep training by themselves, often unsupervised, in countries like Jamaica where sport has been mostly locked down because of COVID-19.

Stress and anxiety as to whether the effort makes sense, given uncertainty regarding when competition will resume, must be extreme.

For now, though, this newspaper invites our readers to contemplate national netballer Ms Malysha Kelly, who has been out of the game for two years because of a serious injury, but is now named in a Sunshine Girl squad for a four-match series against England in that country late next month.

For Jamaica — ranked fourth in international netball behind Australia, New Zealand, and England — the tournament, to be played under strict biosecure rules, is very timely, since the national team has been idle for a year.

For Ms Kelly, 30, it will be crucial to show she still has what is required to compete at the highest level.

We are told that Ms Kelly, who last played for the Sunshine Girls in 2017, ruptured her left anterior cruciate ligament in training during a professional stint in New Zealand in 2018. The ligament, which connects thigh bone to shin bone, is crucial to the stability of the knee. The injury suffered by Ms Kelly is most common in sporting competitions such as netball, which require sudden stops and sharp turns. Such injuries can easily end careers.

We are told that after an initial operation to correct the tear she suffered another rupture and went under the surgeon's knife a second time. We shudder to think of it.

Ms Kelly credits support staff in New Zealand for helping, not just her physical rehabilitation, but her state of mind.

Says she: “I needed a lot of support and motivation along the way... We had a psychologist [in New Zealand], so they brought me through the stages, in terms of getting out of the frame of mind of being afraid. So, I'm back at training and I don't see myself being afraid of playing or afraid to get physical.”

A former captain of the Sunshine Girls, Ms Kelly understands that she is not yet back to where she needs to be, especially since the pandemic has hampered training and preparation, just as it has everyday life for everyone.

However, while she is nervous about a return to competition, she is also excited and eager. We expect Ms Kelly's strength of mind to serve her well as she steps up for the fight in terms of recovering form and fitness, as well as helping the national team to be the best it can be in England and beyond.

Her courage and determination should provide heart-warming inspiration for everyone in this most difficult of times.

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