After sitting on the sideline rehabilitating from an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury in 2021, Sharn Freier has made her return to the Liberty A-League.
Scoring in Brisbane Roar’s 2-0 win over Newcastle Jets in her side’s season opener, Freier was excited to be back in orange.
“I was pretty stoked to have scored if I’m being honest, it was a good feeling especially since I had my family and friends in the crowd,” she said.
“I think because it was so long to get back into it, it felt special.
“I was pretty nervous leading into the game, obviously I was out for a while but as soon as I got on the park, got a few touches I felt excited, it felt good,” Freier added.
Freier made nine appearances, including three starts for the Roar during the A-League Women’s 2020/21 season, scoring her first professional goal in their 6-0 win over Melbourne Victory.
Returning to her National Premier League (NPL) Women’s club Moreton Bay for the 2021 season, the 21-year-old had started the season with eight goals from seven games including a hat-trick.
Then in June 2021, during a match against ladder leaders Lions FC, the 21-year-old came off in the 65th minute with a knee injury.
Scans later revealed the true extent of the injury – a ruptured ACL and torn cartilage, requiring surgery.
It was a challenging and long process for Freier, who took pride in the small improvements she saw over the course of her rehab – especially in the early stages.
“I was pretty confident in getting back to playing football,” the forward said.
“Yanek (Pearce) [Brisbane Roar’s physiotherapist] had to remind me during the process but the hardest thing was during the early phases of the rehab, when you can’t run or can’t kick a ball, and you’re just stuck in the gym, I think mentally that was a bit more challenging for me.
“You’re just stuck lifting weights, it is not a bad thing to get stronger and it was important so I’m grateful for that now but sitting out having to watch football rather than playing it was hard.”
However, Freier wasn’t completely on her own when it came to having an ACL injury as twin sister Laini had also suffered the same injury earlier that same year.
“We did our ACL’s together, so I had a rehab buddy,” Frier explained. “We kept each other going so that helped a lot.”
With the unpredictability around ACL recovery times, Freier had to learn not to compare her rehab process to other people she saw.
“I was told to not compare my recovery to anyone else, everyone is different, it can take longer for some people, a shorter amount of time for others,” she said.
“I found it was important to realise that it was my own knee I had to worry about and just trust the process and you’ll get back.”