Sam Kerr suffers 'devastating' injury in brutal Olympics blow for Matildas champion

The Matildas captain has ruptured her ACL and will miss at least nine months of football.

Sam Kerr.
Sam Kerr will miss at least nine months of football. Image: Getty

Sam Kerr is almost certain to miss the Paris Olympics this year after the Matildas captain suffered an ACL injury while in a training camp with club team Chelsea. The English Women's Super League club revealed the devastating news on Sunday night that Kerr had ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament during a warm weather training camp in Morocco.

The injury will most likely keep Kerr sidelined for a minimum of nine months, meaning she will miss the Olympics in July should the Matildas qualify. Tony Gustavsson's side must beat Uzbekistan in a two-leg playoff in February to qualify for the Games, but they will now be forced to do so without their inspirational captain.

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"Considering how hard Sam has worked over the past six months to return to play, this news is a devastating blow for everyone," Gustavsson said. "With her ability to lead by example, Sam's guidance and influence on the team is significant and, as a result, this will be an incredible loss for the national team. Our focus now is on ensuring she has all the support she wants and needs to navigate recovery and rehab."

Kerr had suffered a calf injury in the lead-up to the Women's World Cup in August, but returned to the field to help the Matildas make the final four. It marked the first time in history that an Australian side (male or female) had made the semi-finals of a football World Cup.

The football tournament at the Olympics is set to take place from July 24 - August 10, but it is rare for a player to return from an ACL injury with less than nine months of rehabilitation. It often takes longer, and players can sometimes miss a full year.

Kerr is the latest top women's player to suffer an ACL injury, with research looking into why the issue is more prevelant in the female game. Fellow Matildas players Ellie Carpenter, Kyah Simon, Chloe Logarzo and Elise Kellond-Knight have all suffered ACL injuries in recent years.

England players Beth Mead and Leah Williamson, Vivianne Miedema of the Netherlands and France's Marie-Antoinette Katoto were among a string of stars to miss the World Cup due to the injury. Spanish star Alexia Putellas had only just returned to the field after an ACL injury and is still trying to regain her top form.

Sam Kerr, pictured here in action for the Matildas against Chinese Taipei.
Sam Kerr in action for the Matildas against Chinese Taipei. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

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Kerr was recently named runner-up to Spain's Aitana Bonmati at the Ballon d'Or awards for best player of the year. She is Australia's record goalscorer with 69 in 128 matches.

Chelsea said she "will be assessed by a specialist in the coming days and then begin her rehabilitation with the club's medical team". Kerr has scored 99 goals in 128 games for the English club, winning the WSL Golden Boot twice. She has four goals in eight games this season, while finding the net five times in four appearances in the Champions League.

She has also won four league titles and three FA Cups at Chelsea - scoring in each final. However she is out of contract this summer. She was recently joined in London by her partner - American player Kristie Mewis - who signed with rival club West Ham United.

Sam Kerr, pictured here with Kristie Mewis after the winning the FA Cup with Chelsea in 2022.
Sam Kerr with Kristie Mewis after the winning the FA Cup with Chelsea in 2022. (Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)

Football fans have been left shattered over Kerr's injury blow. The Matildas captain has received a flood of messages of support on social media.

with agencies

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