Newcastle Jets midfielder Mitch Cooper received a significant boost for the final stages of his recovery from a knee reconstruction when he had the opportunity to travel to Victoria and meet Geelong Cats player Daniel Menzel recently.
The meeting between the pair was organised by Newcastle Jets Major Partner nib, who also sponsor the Cats in the AFL.
Menzel was drafted 17th overall by Geelong in 2009 and played 18 matches during Geelong’s Premiership winning season in 2011.
However, the 22-year-old has not made an AFL appearance since rupturing his right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the qualifying final against Hawthorn that season.
He has since undergone four knee reconstructions in the past three years.
Cooper, who is tracking well with his rehabilitation from his second knee reconstruction in 18 months, said the meeting with Menzel had been hugely beneficial.
“It was a really great experience to be able to head down to Geelong and meet Daniel,” Cooper said.
“Being injured is the hardest part about being an athlete and Daniel’s had it tougher than most the past few years, but he still does everything by the book as far as his rehab goes.
“To see his approach to his recovery and how he stays positive and shows up to training each day with a smile on his face was pretty inspirational.
“It has definitely given me a boost for the last couple months of my rehab and hopefully I can use it as motivation to tick all the right boxes and get back to the level I know I’m capable of.”
Newcastle Jets physiotherapist Robert Dingle thanked nib and the Geelong Cats for facilitating the visit.
“It was a good opportunity for Mitch to go to Geelong and speak to someone who has been through some tough times in regards to serious knee injuries,” Dingle said.
“Both players were able to swap stories about what they’ve been through on and off the field and what they use individually to help them get through those tough rehabs.
“For players going through long-term rehab it’s important to try and change their environment to mix things up and keep them fresh, so we’re very thankful to nib for making this opportunity possible.”
According to nib’s Group Manager, Australian Residents Health Insurance, Mr Rhod McKensey, nib has brand sponsorships which span three of Australia’s major football codes, including A-League, AFL and NRL.
“Through our sponsorship partners we’ve facilitated a number of opportunities in recent years for our partners to share knowledge and experiences across commercial and football operations,” Mr McKensey said.
“This has been another great opportunity to bring together two rising stars from both the Jets and Cats to share the physical and mental challenges each face with their injury and rehabilitation process.
“We are delighted to have made the meeting possible and that both players benefited from the experience.”
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