Georgia Holland uses injury setback as time to step forward in her game

July 29, 2013, 9:35 a.m. (ET)

Plant left, pull right.

It’s a simple, standard dodge around an opponent but for Georgia Holland, a rising senior at Yale University, this move cost her an international match and jeopardized her career as a junior national team athlete.

During the summer of 2012, Holland was selected for the Under-21 national team. And through months of consistent training and four years of working her way through the national team pipeline, she was rewarded with a spot on the Junior Pan American Games roster in Guadalajara, Mexico. The day before the team’s flight departure, Holland stepped on the pitch for a final college game but never walked off. In the midst of a pull, Holland snapped her ACL and hopes of contributing to the Pan American tournament.  

After surgery there was a 10 month rehabilitation period, a span of time where Holland had to retrain her body and fight through aches and pains. What pushed her through the harder days was a mental red circle around a date in July 2013 – a goal to get back in ultimate condition and make it to Mönchengladbach, Germany to take back her chance to shine on the international stage at the Junior World Cup. The defender was able to defy time, come back even stronger and prove with patience and hard work, no matter the obstacle, everyone’s personal Germany is still within reach.

USA Field Hockey: Mentally where were you when you had to give up your position on the Pan American team after years of hard work? 

GH: The night I was given my diagnosis, I was distraught. I really had a hard time grasping the ripple effects of my injury for a week. I had to call my coach and have him give my spot to someone else. Even though it was a difficult time I received emails from the whole team and my coaches. In my mind I knew I would come back and be just as strong if I worked really hard. I wasn’t going to let this be the end of my field hockey career.

USA Field Hockey:  Who was your motivator throughout this process? 

GH: Carrie Lingo was someone I looked to. She has gone through so much with all of her knee surgeries and still had great career at the national level through all of that. I reached out to her a few times and it really put me at ease.  

USA Field Hockey: Describe the moment you found out you made the Junior World Cup roster after putting in pure commitment and dedication to recouping?

GH: When I received that email, I freaked out in my room and then called my parents. It was a nice way to top off my whole rehab, by finally being able to come back. My college coach Pam Stuper was really supportive throughout my entire recovery process and pushed that I continue playing hockey that summer instead of working.

USA Field Hockey: How are you feeling now? 

GH: Much better - I’m still a little sore at the end of the day but the mental rehab is much more difficult to work on than the physical rehab. You’re learning to trust your body again – to play without any doubts.

USA Field Hockey:  What piece of advice can you offer those athletes who are in phases of recouping from an injury? 

GH:  Take it one day at a time and create short term goals for yourself.  You’ll be surprised at how quickly you make progress. I was.

Be sure to follow Holland and the rest of the U.S. Under-21 National Team as they compete at the Junior World Cup by following our Twitter handle @USAFieldHockey for updates.