Beth Mead is making progress in her recovery from an ACL injury and is feeling positive about her return to the pitch.

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“I believe there is a certain pressure for me to perform at the same level as before,” reflects Beth Mead, as she considers her comeback from a nearly year-long absence due to an ACL injury. In December, the striker returned to the England team and netted the fourth goal in their 6-0 victory over Scotland. Despite their strong performance, it was not sufficient to secure a spot in the Nations League finals or Olympic qualification for Team GB.

Currently, she has made progress in her journey towards reaching her previous “Euro level”, but she has not yet reached it. The next phase will involve participating in two friendly matches against Austria and Italy in Marbella, England.

The forward, speaking at the team’s hotel in a Spanish coastal city, expresses his determination to always strive for his best. After a few unsatisfactory performances for Arsenal, he has regained his confidence and is starting to feel like he is in top form. He set a goal for the new year to reach his level from Euro 2022 and fully utilize his skills as a player. He is constantly working towards improvement and growth, although it may be a slow process after a lengthy injury. However, he feels positive and motivated, especially with the regular game time he is receiving at the club. He is excited to be back on the pitch and is looking forward to what the future holds.

Unfortunately, there can be a frustrating disconnect between what our brain wants and what our body is able to do, especially when trying to return to our peak performance. Personally, I have had some success in this process, considering that my first training session with the team was seven or eight months after my injury. Even then, it took me a few more months to fully recover. I noticed a significant difference even during simple passing drills, feeling the effects of being on my toes or on my heels when attempting to make a good play.

“The small tasks that are essential to you are similar to riding a bike – you improve over time, but you may still get frustrated with things that used to come easily. You become aware of this because they are tasks you regularly perform.”

Injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament have long been present in women’s sports, but the number of professional players experiencing them is a growing worry. Just in the past two days, both Mia Fishel from Chelsea and Jamie Finn from Birmingham have suffered this knee injury, which requires a minimum of nine months for recovery.

Beth Mead in action for Arsenal against Manchester City in the FA Cup this month

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In the past year, Mead and her partner Vivianne Miedema, who both play for Arsenal, were featured in a documentary that followed their recovery processes and explored the various factors that contributed to their injuries. When asked if organizations like Fifa or Uefa have reached out to discuss their experiences, Mead responds, “There are ongoing discussions and initiatives taking place, which is fantastic. Viv and I will be participating in events with Fifa and other organizations, discussing how individuals who have torn their ACLs cope and feel about it.”

“You look at the likes of Keira [Walsh] in the World Cup, panicking and thinking the worst because of what’s happening in the game. It’s frustrating to see, us sat watching from home. There were a few ACL injuries in the World Cup and there’s been quite a few this season. We brought our documentary out to bring it to light a little bit better. Off the back of that, we’ve linked up with a few more [people] so hopefully we can get a little bit more data put out there and more specific information.”

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Is Mead obliged to aid the football industry in comprehending the high rate of ACL injuries in women’s football? “That’s our objective, it’s the question worth a million dollars,” she states. “Whoever discovers a solution to prevent these injuries will become very wealthy. We have consulted with experts in various fields and could have discussed for hours, but there is no definite answer on how to prevent them, and that’s the frustrating aspect.”

“We take our responsibility seriously. Many of us have the ability to make a positive impact and contribute to the ongoing research. It’s interesting how much knowledge we gain through this process. I often feel like a physiotherapist, even though I am not one.”


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