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Melbourne Football Club

Lever’s USA rehab works wonders

Jake Lever in the USA Jake Lever spent time in the USA recovering from his ACL injury.

AMIDST the grueling recovery from an ACL injury, Jake Lever embarked on a trip to the USA.

But this was far from an overseas holiday for the 22-year-old.

Lever, accompanied by club physiotherapist Joel Ames, spent 12 days in America to fastrack his rehab process and prepare himself for a comeback in 2019.

Since returning from the trip, Lever spoke in-depth about the journey and how it has worked wonders for his development.

Why the USA?

“The trip came about through Christian Petracca going to see Bill Knowles through Joel Ames and just seeing other people do it from different clubs. I know from Adelaide Brodie Smith and Tex (Taylor) Walker went there, as well as Nic Naitanui.

“So basically, it was me bugging Josh Mahoney and Joel Ames to get me over there and see what it was all about. It was just about finding the right time to do it, so once we found that right time, we booked it in, I went over, and the rest is history – it was great.”

The workload

“It was five days and 10 sessions – so two session per day.

“They went for anywhere between an hour and a half and two and a half hours. For me it was more about doing a lot of stuff that I hadn’t done before.

“That was really confidence boosting. Even now when I train, I just feel so much better out there and so much more natural having done those things for a week.”

Learnings from the trip

“What it entailed was stripping it right back at the start and focusing on using my glutes and actually getting triggers to be able to turn them on and use them at training which has helped.

“And just slowly over the five days I really started ramping it up. Whether that was catching the ball from some shooting machine that he has or doing ground balls running to the side, then the later days were more about my acceleration and changing direction.

“A lot of the stuff that I did was based on stuff I could bring back – particularly confidence building. For me it’s just more about bringing that knowledge back and then getting back into playing.”

Training in the snow

“So I woke up on the Wednesday morning and looked outside the window and I couldn’t believe what had happened. It was quite amazing looking outside to see the car and the ground covered in snow.

“We went out to the soccer pitch where I was training and I ran through the snow.

“The boys took the mickey out of me for looking like a truck turning a corner, but it was because the snow was very slippery and I was very scared.”

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One of the more unique experiences, running in ankle deep snow! 🏃🏻‍♂️⛄️

A post shared by Jake Lever (@jakelever_) on

Enjoying some downtime

“It was really important to get over there for a couple of days and really settle in – because it’s a 16-hour time difference.

“It worked out that there was a Philadelphia 76ers game, so I got some tickets to that. I’d never been to America so just to be able to watch a live NBA game was pretty cool.

“I was lucky enough to get a tour through the 76ers facilities and compared to ours it’s just on another level in terms of technology and the way they run the franchise – it’s pretty amazing.

“And I went to a hockey game so I can well and truly say I love the game of hockey now. I have a real appreciation for what the athletes can do.”

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NHL 🏒⛸ Philly Flyers vs Buffalo Sabres.

A post shared by Jake Lever (@jakelever_) on


Second time around

“I wasn’t in a professional environment the first time I did my knee.

“For a lot of guys who have done two or three knees, they can relate back to previous rehabs, but for me it has just been completely different. I was a year out of school so I worked during the day and did my rehab at either 5:30am before work, or 6pm after work.

“The good thing about this rehab has been coming in every day and focusing on what I need to do. It’s almost become a bit of a job in a way which has been fantastic from a getting back point of view because I can put my 100 percent effort into doing my rehab exercises.”


“It can definitely be tough physically and mentally. There’s a bit of a joke going around the club that I’ve had 16 holidays since I’ve done my knee, but all those breaks have kept me motivated.

“When I have been on holiday, I don’t stop training because I’m focused on getting back to footy.

“The driver for me was seeing the boys play finals. That’s why I came to the Melbourne Footy Club – I saw there was going to be a really bright future and I wanted to play and be successful in Melbourne colours. You’re a part of it when you’re in the squad, but not actually playing really hurt.

“Every time I’m stuffed doing a gym session, I’m thinking about that finals series that I missed out on and I never want to miss out on that again.

“Going over to America has definitely helped me see that light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully it’s only eight to 12 weeks before I’m playing football again and feeling like a normal human.”