Smiling from ear to ear in her Bay Shore home with her six-year-old Boxer by her side, Jasmyne Spencer sat down as we went over the extent of her injuries and what it meant for the upcoming season.
In her highly anticipated return to the Westfield W-League, Jasmyne Spencer took the field with Canberra United against Brisbane Roar with one goal in mind: play hard, play smart, play to win.
Although the New York native played two consecutive seasons for Sydney FC, her appearance with Canberra gave Spencer the feeling of new beginnings.
From missed opportunities to Brisbane’s defense, the game was deadlocked at 0-0 when Spencer was tackled by another player, forcing the fan favorite to be carried off of the field.
“I remember hearing a few cracks and pops in the tackle and so I immediately was like uh oh this isn’t good,” she said. “It wasn’t until I tried to stand up and couldn’t that I started to panic and think something is really wrong. I didn’t know what, but I knew it was bad.”
Spencer was left with a grade three ankle sprain. Due to team needs, she was out for a total of 3 weeks despite the recommended 6-8. After being re-evaluated at the conclusion of the Westfield W-League, the forward was forced to minimize physical activity for an additional five weeks. This was her first injury as a professional athlete.
“I didn’t really know what to expect as far as the road to recovery. My mindset was somewhere between will I come back the same and you’ll be fine, it’s just a sprained ankle,” said Spencer.
As of 2016, Spencer has played approximately 1564 minutes on the field. With a grade-three ankle sprain, the Canberra forward gave all she had on the sidelines, cheering for her teammates and finding inspiration in their success. Although she prides herself on being a team player, her absence from the field weighed heavy on her.
“Sitting out that first game was definitely one of the hardest moments of my career so far. I’ve never [ever] been left off the team sheet in my entire professional career, so it was very emotional. As a player this moment has taught me to never take playing for granted. Every athlete knows that one day your career will come to an end and so you tell yourself not to take it for granted. I don’t think you realize how much you do take it for granted until something out of your control forces you to be sidelined. We were a very young team at Canberra and my injury paved way for a lot of them to get game time, and so I didn’t have to focus on myself. I was able to be more attentive to them and help them out. As frustrating as my injury was it was awesome to see them all make debuts and witness a few of them score their first career goals. I get goosebumps thinking about it because the way I see it, their success gave my injury purpose.”
If you follow the animal lover on social media, you were able to see first-hand how dedicated Spencer’s medical staff was in customizing her rehabilitation while keeping the athlete in shape for the upcoming season.
When asked if the injury has changed the athlete’s perspective, Spencer took a deep breath, nodded yes, and laughed. She later explained that athletes focus on the physicality of the sport when mentees ask for advice and speak very little on the mental hardships associated with the sport. Either way, Orlando Pride’s powerful ball of energy is ready to take on the 2017 season.
“I’m pushing toward my goals and when I look back this injury will just be another moment in my career that I can be proud I conquered,” said Spencer.