Matildas forward Kyah Simon has opened up in an emotional outpouring on social media after making her long-awaited return to the football pitch after a horror run of injuries. Simon - who was picked in the Matildas' World Cup squad but didn't feature in any of the games - played her first minutes of football in almost 500 days when she came off the bench for Central Coast in the Mariners' 2-0 win over Newcastle in the A-League Women's competition.
The veteran forward hadn't featured in a game since suffering a horrific knee injury while playing for English club Tottenham in October, 2022. Simon tore not only her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), but also her medial cruciate ligament (MCL) and meniscus - a devastating triple blow that left the 32-year-old fearing the worst for her career.
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Simon says the arduous rehabilitation process and countless setbacks she had along the way frequently left her broken "mentally, physically and emotionally". The 32-year-old admitted she did not think it would be possible to make a successful comeback to the sport she loves and poured her heart out on Instagram after finally putting her injury hell behind her in Sunday's cameo for the Mariners.
This is the moment Matildas star @KyahSimon made her return to football after 𝟒𝟖𝟎 𝐝𝐚𝐲𝐬 out with an ACL injury 🇦🇺❤️
Making her long-awaited comeback at the club where her career started - you couldn’t have scripted it any better.
Welcome back, Kyah 🙌
— Liberty A-League (@aleaguewomen) January 28, 2024
“Wow, where to even begin. 483 days after tearing my ACL, MCL and meniscus, back playing the game I love so much again,” Simon wrote on Instagram. “To be completely honest I doubted I would ever get here, I lost count of the times this rehab broke me, mentally, physically and emotionally.
“Frustrations of chronic pain in my knee, barely sleeping for the first three months from the discomfort, numerous specialist appointments, scans, injections, tearing my calf four times during the rehab, and heartbreakingly one of them happening right at the start of the World Cup. It was difficult to fathom, working the hardest I ever have, doing all the right things in my power to get myself back on the park, but there just seemed to be setback after setback.”
Kyah Simon thought football career might be over
Simon was selected in Tony Gustavsson's Matildas squad for the World Cup despite her long injury lay-off but was reduced to being a spectator for the entirety of the tournament as the Aussies made it all the way to the semi-finals. While the 32-year-old forward often put on a brave face, she said few people knew the toll her injury nightmare had taken, with Simon admitting she struggled to "stay afloat mentally and not give up".
“There’s only a couple of people who know the full extent of the past 15 months,” she added. “I didn’t give many public updates as there were so many uncertainties at every corner and I myself was living day to day, trying to stay afloat mentally and not give up.
“I got to the point of being so exhausted talking about my injuries, my setbacks, then another setback, and another, I shut out a lot of those conversations to avoid speaking about it and reliving that feeling of disappointment all over again. But here I am, we made it and with that being said thank you to the people who checked in on me, not just as a footballer, but as a person, those who continued to support me through the tough times, even without the clarity, you stuck by me and I appreciate you more than you know.”
Among those who Simon thanked for their support and help in getting her back on the pitch were her partner Faye Bryson, whom she played alongside of for Central Coast in her 10-minute cameo on Sunday. Simon also thanked Matildas physios Jacqui Benz and Pete Lion for their "tireless" work to help treat the 32-year-old, as well as Mariners physio Caitlin Skillicorn, high-performance coach Tom Carter and her extended support network of family and friends.
— CommBank Matildas (@TheMatildas) January 28, 2024
Fans in outpouring of support after Kyah Simon comeback
The Matildas veteran received an outpouring of love and support from across the sporting world in the wake of her heartwarming post. “Back in the dub (A-League Womens),” wrote Matildas captain Sam Kerr, who was only recently ruled out for the season after suffering her own ACL injury. Former Tottenham teammate Kit Graham wrote: Let’s go KyKy! So proud of you," alongside a white heart emoji.
English international star Beth England said: “So happy for you.” Australian rugby sevens champion Chloe Dalton added: “Stoked for you!” Former Diamonds netball star Kim Ravaillion was also thrilled for Simon after responding: “Ahh this motivates me so much. Go Kyah, thanks for sharing.”
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