TRADITIONALLY, athletes opt to have surgery after rupturing their anterior cruciate ligament, but not Ainslie Kemp.
After injuring her knee for a second time during the VFLW season, she decided to take a different approach with her recovery – one that is working out quite well.
“In terms of rehab, it’s been a lot more accelerated than the first time around,” Kemp told Melbourne Media.
“I’m fully back in everything now, full training and eyes on the season.
This new approach will see Kemp avoid the usual 12-month stint on the sidelines, as she is teaching herself to play without an ACL in her right knee.
“What can happen is it can reform in a way,” she said.
“Obviously it won’t be as strong and as good as a normal ACL, but I haven’t really had an issue with it over the last six months that I’ve been rehabbing, so I’ll just kind of see how it goes and hopefully it works out well.”
The 22-year-old suffered her first ACL injury at training in the lead up to the 2018 season and knows exactly how difficult it is to overcome.
“It’s just one of those injuries where you feel like you want to do everything you can to try and get back and you don’t really want to leave any stones unturned,” Kemp said.
“I felt that way during rehab, I felt like I did absolutely everything I could.
“I didn’t cut any corners, I was really proud of how I went about it, but unfortunately it didn’t work out in the end.”
After playing four senior games in 2019, Kemp had a minor operation on her knee post-season, before succumbing to the injury in her second game for the Casey Demons.
And while it has been an incredibly challenging six months, the forward-turned-defender says she was much better placed to deal with the injury this time around.
“Previously I would have let it get me down a lot more than it probably should,” Kemp said.
“Rather than focusing on not playing footy and not being able to do what I love, I tried to focus on other things to not make it all about what I can’t do, it’s more about what I can do.”
With a positive attitude and usual bubbly spirit, Kemp has got herself in the position to complete the full pre-season with her teammates and set herself up for a big 2020 campaign.