Repeat: Off The Ball

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Repeat: Off The Ball

The comment that fuelled Cora Staunton's recovery after her quadruple leg break

There are few athletes with the resilience needed to recover from an injury as horrific as a quad...

The comment that fuelled Cora...

The comment that fuelled Cora Staunton's recovery after her quadruple leg break

There are few athletes with the resilience needed to recover from an injury as horrific as a quadruple leg break. Fewer still could do it well into their 37th year.

However, Cora Staunton was determined that she would be back on the playing pitch by the time she was 38 after suffering the rare injury.

There was the arduous process of learning to walk again, the lows as recovery stalled and regressed and the long-lasting struggle with tasks as banal as walking up the stairs.

While there was no initial pain when she broke two bones in her tibia, one in her fibula and another at the start of her ankle, it soon arrived after her first emergency surgery.

"The immediate thing was shock. It wasn't pain, it was just shock," the former Mayo Ladies footballer recalls on the latest edition of Andy Lee Meets.

"I let out two screams at what I'd seen and then I just lay there until the ambulance came."

An injury that could call into jeopardy an athlete's career at any age or level, Staunton said she never considered the prospect of her AFLW experience with the Greater Western Sydney Giants ending there.

Rather it was immediately a case of returning to play, not just to walking again.

An important part of that was finding the motivation that would carry her through the many lows associated with recovery from such a serious injury.

She didn't have to look far.

Five days after her surgery, she recalls, "I was standing in the club at the time and waiting to see the doctor and this guy – we won't name who he was but he was high up in the club in the men's department – came out to talk to me and see how my leg was.

"And he made a comment that day to me: 'We don't think you'll ever get back'," she says.

"And at this time I was in a level of pain that I just wanted to see the doctor and go home. I was on a lot of medication."

Although she didn't challenge his words at the time, Staunton had found the words that she needed to fuel her recovery, to fuel her desire to prove the doubters wrong.

"I always remembered that comment anytime I was training.

"And I'd see him in the club and see him a lot and he was the guy who, when you were probably doing an hour of cross-training you'd say to yourself: 'I'll do an extra five or 10 minutes', that you'd do it [because of him].

"I just needed something to give me that extra motivation."

Talking about that desire to prove doubting figures wrong, the former Staunton admitted it was a common theme throughout her career in all the sports she's played.

"There was another story about my coach, he was dropping me home from the club one day – obviously I wasn't driving at this stage – and I said something about the surgeon, that he was excellent because I thought he was excellent in any of my dealings with him.

"This was probably two weeks after my operation and he said, 'We'll see how good he is in October.' When the season was starting.

"And I took it that he was doubting the surgeon and doubting me. So that was just that extra nugget of motivation that I needed. And I've said it to him since and he didn't mean it like that."

In January, eight months after suffering her injury, Staunton made a goal-scoring return in a practice match against 2019 champions the Adelaide Crows.

You can watch Staunton's full sit down with Andy Lee here.

'Andy Lee Meets...' is in association with the all-new Seat Leon, the brands’ first fully connected car.

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