Batcheldor returns to the court after long rehab

Batcheldor returns to the court after long rehab

Finn Daniel

The Round 7 fixture between the Carina Leagues Club Tigers and the Brisbane North Cougars saw the long-awaited return of the Tigers’ Reilley Batcheldor to the HART Sapphire Series, a year after she suffered a major knee injury.

Batcheldor was competing for her school in the 2019 Vicki Wilson Cup when she jumped for a ball and landed awkwardly, feeling her knee move in an ‘in-and-out motion’. She later found out that she had completely ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and torn her lateral and medial menisci.

“Everyone knows when they’ve done their ACL that they’ve done their ACL, so I was immediately screaming, in tears, because I knew how extensive the rehab was,” Batcheldor explained.

“I had heard of girls doing it and knew it happens in netball, but you never think it will happen to you. It’s one of those things, so then when it happened to me, I empathised with the other girls that have gone through it.”

The severity of the injury necessitated a full reconstruction of the rising star’s ACL and more than 8 months of recovery and rehabilitation before she could resume training. Fortunately, she was able to rely on the support from those around her, including her physio, Netball Queensland and her family, who drove her to and from the hospital and surgery.

ACL injuries are relatively common in sports such as netball, and Batchelor received valuable guidance from Amy Sommerville, her teammate and captain, who had endured a similar experience in the past.

“Amy was always like a good little mentor to have and she helped me to get a good idea of where I should be at, and what’s she been through, so she’s just been great,” said Batcheldor.

“I also had the opportunity to have a few of the Suncorp Super Netball girls who have done their ACLs mentor me.”

“On the second day after my operation I was in so much pain and didn’t know whether that was normal or not, so I flicked the girls a message and they were like, “yeah, that’s totally normal,”” she continued.

Batcheldor, who is a member of Netball Queensland’s development programme, had no choice but to focus on optimising her recovery while her friends and teammates continued playing netball, but remained determined throughout the process.

“There were quite a few times when I had to sit on the bench and miss out on a few team selections, but I kind of always turn the negatives into more motivation to get back out there,” she said.

“It was hard to see it all happen and I had a few tears, but then it just all filtered into more motivation I guess.”

Since her return Batcheldor has played two games for the highly placed Tigers Ruby side, in addition to facing the Cougars in the Sapphire Series, displaying the shooting prowess and all-round quality that earned her a spot in the recently announced 21U Netball Australia Centre of Excellence Squad, despite missing significant court time.

“It was one of my goals to be selected in that squad before I did my ACL,” Batcheldor said.

“I missed out on the first selection, so when I got that phone call (from Head Coach Kylie Burns) I really couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t get the smile off my face.”

The camp for the 21U squad is one of several events on Batcheldor’s calendar as she also has three weeks of the regular season left to play with the Tigers, where she will aim to re-establish herself as one of the most promising attacking players in the state.

“I feel like it’s all coming back to me, and my confidence and mojo… it’s starting to click again in my brain.”

You can catch Reilley and the Tigers in action this week for Round 8 of HART Sapphire Series. Click here for fixtures. 








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