Blue skies ahead as Jarrett refuses to be left jaded by injury setbacks

Ireland striker admits she's hoping she can catch a break some time soon after spate of ACL injuries
Blue skies ahead as Jarrett refuses to be left jaded by injury setbacks

Looking forward: Rianna Jarrett during the launch of the INTERSPORT Elverys FAI Summer Soccer Schools at the FAI Headquarters in Abbotstown, Dublin. Pic: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Rianna Jarrett doesn’t want sympathy for her injury plight but does admit she’s deserving of a break.

The latest layoff of seven months won’t even have the striker back for Ireland’s concluding Euro qualifiers against Finland and Slovakia in September. 

Her debut season at English Championship outfit London City Lionesses ended in January. The initial problem of a torn calf muscle was compounded during her rehab by her meniscus being ripped.

Dealing with the physical and mental challenges of long comebacks is part of the Wexford native’s psyche. Three ruptured ACL injuries in both knees by her 22nd birthday conditioned her to knock backs.

At a time when the women’s team has a first qualification playoff spot for 14 years in their sights, the now 27-year-old cannot afford to be gripped by fear.

“You can say unlucky but whether I am or not there’s nothing I can do about it unfortunately,” says Jarrett. “I’ve dealt with a lot worse injuries in the past and come out the other side - thankfully growing from strength to strength. Maybe I might just need a bit of luck for the latter years.

“You always hope your last injury is going to be your last, so fingers crossed this is the end of that for me. I’ve got a good medical set-up in London City. We've got a new strength and conditioning coach and she’s amazing.

“She looks at the finer details. She leaves no stone unturned and that’s very important for me, not only getting back from this injury but injury prevention going forward for me.

“I’m just very lucky I have such good support systems at the club and back home as well which enable me to not have to worry about where my rehab is coming from, who is paying for it or what the next step is. I feel very fortunate.” 

Her club, whom she joined from Brighton and Hove Albion last season, have been a source of support. They could easily have avoided the risk by ditching their casualty but are investing in her recovery in time for next season.

They finished second behind runaway champions Liverpool and have designs on going one better by clinching promotion.

“My contract runs out at the end of June, but it looks like I will be staying, signing an extension to stay for another year," Jarrett added.

“I was fortunate enough that I had a good relationship with the manager (Melissa Phillips). When I hurt my knee, she did try to reassure me. They were never forcing me to get back before the end of the season; never that stress or worry.

“She reassured me that, if it was long term, I wasn’t going to be kicked to the kerb. I am fortunate even by the fact that the club has let me come back to Ireland to do my rehab in the summer.

“I’m fortunate enough I’m in a position where the club still wants to take a chance on me and it looks like we’ll get the one-year contract over the line.

“That’s how the men’s game in England differs with Ireland, where they sign nine-month contracts to cover the length of the season.

“I believe there are one or two clubs in the English Championship that are like that as well.

“But for me, and a lot of the other Irish girls, the contracts we have signed have been for 12 months at a minimum.

“I don’t know how I’d feel about being paid for nine months out of the 12. Otherwise, you'll have to finance yourself through other ways or make it stretch so I’m fortunate that I’m not in that situation.”

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