Beth Cobden opens up about her three ACL injuries and returning to court with the Vitality Roses

“I never thought that it could go again, you see. Then it did. In my mind now either [knee] could just go again, so I’ve had to do a lot of work with the sports psychologist to get my head around that.

“I don’t think that [concern] will ever go away really, until I retire. It’s just about managing those thoughts and making sure they’re not taking over.”

When Beth Cobden’s return to England was announced, all involved in English netball were overjoyed and in Australia, there were many who were sad to see her leave their shores.

Those thoughts and feelings are a testament to Cobden’s talent on court and her bubbly and warm personality off it. The 27-year-old brings so much to any team that she is a part of and the difficult journey that she’s had within the sport that she loves, has further endeared her to all within the netballing world.

Cobden was just 17-years-old when she experienced one of the injuries athletes fear the most; an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture. ACL injuries are notorious and extremely unwanted. Back then, her right knee went and she set about going through the long and arduous process of rehabiltation.

Vitality Netball Legends Series – All matches also streamed on Sky Sports YouTube channel

ACLs aren’t parts of your body that heal in a week or two, they often involve operations and need hours of meticulous training to get an athlete’s knee back up to strength. Progress is slow and rushing is not an option.

As a teenager, Cobden put in the hard yards, returned to court and established herself within the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) and England’s Vitality Roses.

She started her VNSL career with Manchester Thunder, before moving to Loughborough Lightning, and made her England international debut in 2016.

Between 2016 and 2018, Cobden only missed one senior international competition and she was named in the Vitality Netball Superleague All Star VII in 2017 and 2018.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games brought about a gold medal, however after returning to Lightning, the Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Final was marred by a significant blow – an ACL injury on her other knee, the left.

A post shared by Beth Cobden (@bethcobden1)

“When it went and I thought, okay I know what I need to do to get back, let’s do it,” she said to Sky Sports.

“Mentally I was fine with that one… I’d done it before, and I hadn’t had any issues with it. When the same knee went again, that was what got me.”

🚨 INJURY UPDATE 🚨@AdelaideTBirds confirm Beth Cobden will miss remainder of the 2019 season after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament in Round 3.

Brought to you by @ElastoplastAU

Her left knee ‘going again’ happened a year later in Australia, just before the Vitality Netball World Cup. It robbed her of the chance to perform in a home Netball World Cup and this time, it didn’t just leave a physical mark on her.

“When it went again that really messed me up mentally. I was not expecting it at all. Then, it’s just constant doubt in your mind about whether it could go again,” she said.

“I never thought that it could go again, you see. Then it did. In my mind now either [knee] could just go again, so I’ve had to do a lot of work with the sports psychologist to get my head around that.

Beth Cobden on seeing her injury played out on social media after

It wasn’t great actually. I saw it just hours after I’d done it and I do think that’s really affected my recovery with it. Someone probably didn’t realise it would have that impact, but it has. At that point, they used to put everything on social media, I think they’ve stopped doing it as much now.

“I have an image in my head of when I landed, and it snapped. When it happened, the people on the coverage over in Australia tagged me in it on Instagram. The night after I’d done it I was on my phone and saw it,” she said.

“I think having seen that image, it’s stuck quite a bit. In my head, I’ve linked the image with the feeling and the snap, then I think sometimes I just play that in my head a bit. So, it’s trying to get that out of my head and trying to think about myself.

“Now, if ever I have that image, I try and think of it as being like a strong landing and it being fine and carrying on. Imagery is something that’s helped quite a lot and just talking about it, definitely.”

Beth Cobden on the role of her sports psychologist

A lot of it is just talking it through. We book in regular appointments and just have chats a lot of the time, as it’s gone on there have been a few little different techniques that I do if ever I get these negative thoughts to help remove them.

Also, just accepting that I am going to get these [negative] thoughts and knowing that it’s normal to have them. It’s just turning that into positive and understanding why they’re there and trying to turn them around.

Before returning to England, Cobden had already decided to take a role of Adelaide Thunderbirds’ training partner as opposed to pressuring herself to return to a Suncorp Super Netball court.

Then, when lockdown arrived in March last year she returned to England alongside Natalie Haythornthwaite and Layla Guscoth. They caught what they thought might be one of the last flights out of Australia, and all landed safely back in England.

Having her really has helped, now I’m in quite a good place now with it all. Touch wood, I’ll be good to go for a few more years then I can retire in my own time.

Beth Cobden on the impact of her sports psychologist

Since then, it’s been announced that she is returning to Loughborough Lightning and the Vitality Netball Superleague, and the lockdown period has provided her with a wealth of extra time to recover.

“When I think about the fact that I would have been playing around May and I’ve ended up just playing more recently, I think that I would never have been ready to play at that point,” she said.

“When I think about where I was mentally then, to where I am now. It’s worked out really well for me in that sense. We’ve been very lucky to have been able to carry on [training and playing].

“I love playing for Loughborough and the whole programme is brilliant. I do feel really comfortable and happy and I love playing for England and being in the camp and part of the environment. The girls, the coaches and the staff have all been amazing and have supported me really well.

“Now I’m in quite a good place now with it all. My aim is to try and get to the World Cup but at the minute, I’m just taking each point as it comes and it’s working for me well so far.”

Netball returns to Sky Sports with the Vitality Netball Legends series. Watch the second match on Sky Sports Arena and Mix on Wednesday from 5.30pm. All matches will also be streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel.

Source: Read Full Article