Nielsen Finding Balance


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Like most AFLW players, paramedic Ingrid Nielsen is forced to juggle full-time work and football commitments.

Unlike most, they overlapped last May when she served as first responder after GIANTS teammate Cora Staunton suffered a broken leg during a game in Sydney’s premier competition.

Staunton broke both the tibia and fibula bones in her right leg while being tackled.

Nielsen, who will play alongside the “inspiring” Irishwoman when the GIANTS host West Coast at Sydney’s Blacktown Oval on Sunday, vividly recalls the confronting setback.

“You heard this really loud scream and that’s not expected from Cora, she’s one of the toughest players on our team,” Nielsen told AAP.

“She had an obviously deformed leg. She was very distressed and in a lot of pain.

“I just tried to keep her calm and remove lots of the other players, so everyone wasn’t standing over her and freaking out. I got the other girls to call 000 and wait for the ambulance.

“I don’t think I did anything that anyone else couldn’t have done, but I guess it was good having paramedic experience in that situation.”

Staunton, who has won four All-Ireland Gaelic football titles, underwent surgery and there were fears the 38-year-old would be forced to retire.

Instead, she was fit for round one of the NAB AFLW season after a remarkable recovery that continues to inspire everybody at the GIANTS.

“She’s amazing. The way she has come back and how much she has trained, the resilience,” Nielsen said.

Nielsen was drafted in 2018 and her first AFLW pre-season was chaotic; she continued to work nightshifts then would attempt to train after little sleep.

The 28-year-old, who thanked Ambulance NSW for being supportive and accommodating of her AFLW opportunity, has struck a better balance in 2020.

“Typically an ambulance roster is two days, two nights then five days off. I’ve now organised it so I work the days we don’t have training,” Nielsen said.

“Work can be quite confronting and put football into perspective.

“It can also be very rewarding, they’re the jobs you have to remember when you go to something a bit more dire.”

The GIANTS take on the West Coast Eagles this Sunday, February 23 from 1.10pm at Blacktown International Sportspark.


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