Matt Hender returns from Finland

Young WA volleyball export Matt Hender’s season was cut short with an on-court ankle injury and he recently arrived back in Perth for a period of intensive treatment to stabilise the injury.

Rossmoyne and UWA player Matt Hender, who was recruited to play for Finnish Club Vaasan Kiitso, has had to return early to Perth due to a torn ligament and cartilage compression in his right ankle.

Because of the extended recovery period that is required, club management has exercised an injury clause and terminated his one season contract early.

“I was going out wide, and my team mate came in the same direction and knocked me. I went down and bumped my knee, and then at the same time crunched my ankle. It was one of those times where you can hear it tear.”

“Its really disappointing. I was in Finland for 12 weeks, and played five League games and at the end of the game when I was injured we were sitting at the top of the League ladder.”

“Once again I credit my family and friends and their support in the period after the injury and coming back to Perth.”

Damian Oldmeadow, Australian Volleyball Team Physiotherapist and VWA President noted that ankle injuries are one of the most common injuries seen in volleyball and as in Henders’ situation, commonly involve a collision with another player. “More often it is from an opponent’s foot under the net on attack and the blocker landing on the foot and rolling the ankle but occasionally it is from “friendly fire!” he explains.  “It is unfortunate to finish a season early due to an injury like this but that good rehabilitation is critical to allow good healing and also to minimise the risk of re-injury.”

“Importantly in Henders’ case, he also sustained some cartilage damage, which will be the main reason that his season has ended prematurely. Good diagnosis, rest and good treatment is critical to ensure a full recovery from the cartilage injury. Returning to sport from cartilage injuries too early often leads to long term problems with a joint that can significantly shorten a playing career.”

“If in doubt make sure you seek out the advice of a good physiotherapist or sports doctor before returning to volleyball injury.”

Prior to being injured, Hender was enjoying the challenge of playing in Finland. “The Club is very focussed on winning, and getting back into the top League. There are a lot of players associated with the club who train and support the team in a number of ways, even if they are not on the roster. The local government is a major sponsor and offers access to the best gym facilities in the town.”

“English was more of a problem that I thought it would be. On court it is easier to be understand, because while the terminology might be different the set up and strategies are the same. I’m still talking to the coach and management at Vaasan Kiitso and am keeping my options open for next season.”

While resting and undergoing rehabilitation back in Perth, Hender is enjoying the novelty of a Western Australian summer.

He is one of a growing number of WA volleyball players who are playing internationally – either on national squads, or being recruited to play internationally on professional teams. These include Jen Day, Sophie Godfrey and Tara West on the national Women’s team playing in Japan and Vietnam, Luke Perry & Sam Walker (World University Games, Men’s World Championship qualifier ), Max Staples (World University Games, U23 World Championships), Luke Smith (World University Games & 2012 London Olympics squad), Nick Butler and Lewis McDonald (U23 World Championships), Cole Durant and Josh Court (FIVB Beach Volleyball Tour event in China).