Winging it: sidelined

AFLQ community footy writer, Beth Newman, has suffered her first footy setback.

I’ve only been in the game for four months, but I thought I’d seen pretty much all the major firsts in footy.

First game, win, spray, mark, kick, tackle.

But this week, I had another first – my very first footy injury.

Not only was it my first footy injury, but my first legitimate, medical assistance required, type situation.

I’m the kind of person who falls over all the time, unassisted and probably holds the record for falcons over my sporting history.

But, I always seem to be able to get up and keep going – though my knees bear the scars of my lack of co-ordination over the years.

This time, though, I was chasing a ball and going for a mark and I managed to tip the edge with my finger.

Instantly, a sharp pain shot through my middle finger and my instinct was to give it a quick shake, thinking it was just a jar enhanced by the July chill.

But then I looked at it, and the sunken knuckle and bulging underside, told me something wasn’t right.

It wasn’t until my coach came over and went “dislocated your finger?” that I actually put two and two together.

Indeed, his diagnosis was accurate, and after a failed attempt to treat said diagnosis, I arranged my very first trip to the emergency room.

Once, the logistics were set up, my next instinct was to share my misfortune with my nearest and dearest, and many casual acquaintances via Instagram.

If you would like to see my temporarily deformed appendage, take a look here (not for people with weak compositions).

Then it was off to the hospital, which was an entirely less painful and more low-key event than I had imagined.

X-rays and a hospital bed followed, along with discussions about legionella and girls playing footy.

I have always considered myself reasonably tough when it comes to pain, but I thought this would be my undoing.

I managed to surpass both my own and my boyfriend’s expectations of me, with a pain-killer free reattachment.

I then had to wear a metal splint-type contraption over my finger all weekend, including while covering and shooting a footy match for work.

Writing sans middle finger is challenging, to say the least.

You might think I’m pretty soft, but it’s amazing how much useful your hands are in everyday life and having a massive plastic cover on my writing hand has been quite constrictive.

So, now I’m in “rehab” and require regular visits to hand therapy (much to the amusement to those around me).

I didn’t think this would be very serious, so I had a bit of a rude shock when the therapist recommended I avoid footballs hitting my hand for at least four weeks.

The first of those appointments went a bit less well than could be expected, involving a half hour wait in a lift – a story for another time.

What all this led to was another first for me, running messages on Saturday for our team.

With only one runner, I’m pretty sure I ended up clocking almost as many ks as I would in a match.

Combine that with trying to relay a message succinctly and accurately, it was a very taxing Saturday morning for me.

But, on Saturday, I also received a major shot of perspective, when one of my teammates went down.

One of our most courageous players, Brodie, throws herself in every contest and her ribs haven’t always responded super well.

After missing a good seven weeks, she played her return game on the weekend, but reinjured herself.

Her courage and optimism through the whole thing was extraordinary and I know she has been an inspiration to many of us this season.

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