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'I'm excited!'

Sunshine Girl Malysha Kelly says she's eager to return after ACL injury nightmare

BY SANJAY MYERS
Senior staff reporter
myerss@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, December 27, 2020

JAMAICA'S senior team netball player Malysha Kelly admits she is nervy about returning to competitive action after a knee injury layoff.

The 30-year-old goal defence, who last played for the Sunshine Girls in 2017, ruptured her left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in training during a professional stint in New Zealand in 2018.

“I'm nervous, but I'm also quite excited, knowing that in the professional world a lot of people have had this injury and some have got back to where they were or even better,” Kelly told the Jamaica Observer after being named to the squad set to face hosts England in four Tests late next month.

“I'm excited to see what my hard work does because there are people who, for them, it [a similar injury] ended their career,” she continued.

After the initial knee operation, a re-rupture of the ACL graft forced her under the surgeon's knife a second time.

Kelly, who has captained the Sunshine Girls, said while it was a rocky path back from injury, it was made less difficult because of the support she had.

“I needed a lot of support and motivation along the way, but it has been really hard and challenging at times. 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.

“I'm more comfortable and confident; I took the time out to do my rehab. I'm not where I used to be, but I'm confident I'll get back there. After the injury I basically started from scratch in terms of physicality. I've been out for a while and been nursing an injury and I haven't been playing, so I'm still trying to get back to where I was before the injury,” the defensive player explained.

The games between Jamaica and the England Roses are scheduled for January 22, 24, 26 and 28 — the staging of the tour is subject to the lifting of travel restrictions to the United Kingdom and approval from the host country's health authorities after a recent spike in novel coronavirus cases there.

Though in good physical condition, Kelly said since recovering the lack of competitive action due to the virus pandemic has impacted her match sharpness.

“I feel I've prepared myself as well as possible… but at this stage I wish I was way better off,” the former national youth player told the Observer.

“Because of the COVID-19 situation, and we weren't playing enough games up to now… I feel as though I would have been more prepared if it wasn't for COVID-19 and if we had got back on court quicker,” she said.