Freo’s faith in Viv
You’d think Viv Michie ran over a black cat and walked under a ladder when he arrived at Fremantle Oval in 2010, given his unlucky run with injury over the first two years of his AFL career.
Stress fractures in his right foot early in both the 2011 and 2012 seasons have robbed the 20-year-old of an opportunity to make his name in the game.
“Obviously it hasn’t been the way I would have pictured starting my career,” he said.
Michie, who was selected with pick 44 in the 2010 National Draft, was initially diagnosed with the stress fractures in his foot around this time last year.
“I was playing a few games of WAFL and, basically, my foot started gradually getting sorer and sorer and, unfortunately, it showed that I had a stress fracture in my navicular bone,” he said.
He went straight into a non weight-bearing cast for about six weeks, but the bone didn’t heal in that time.
“The club opted to have surgery on it, which went really well, but that meant another significant period of not putting weight through it,” Michie said.
After a year of rehab, Michie received the bad news at the start of this season that he’d again be out of action for a long period of time because of the same problem.
“Basically, each time I’ve gone to come back, my body hasn’t handled it and I’ve broken down again,” he said.
“It’s been a lot longer than I would have hoped.”
Michie said the setbacks had made things difficult, not just physically, but also mentally.
“You feel like there is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel and then it happens again,” he said.
“It really does make it to tough to stay motivated.
“But, having said that, it has, if anything, made me hungrier to get out there now that I know how hard it is and how bad it can be in rehab.
“I certainly don’t want to stay there too much longer.”
Injuries are new to Michie, who said he didn’t have any major issues throughout his junior career.
“It’s something I’ve had to get used to, unfortunately, watching from the sidelines,” he said.
“It’s been really challenging but the focus is making sure I get it right this time around.”
Despite his misfortune, Michie had confidence in his ability to get around this roadblock in his career.
“You definitely have your low moments and you wonder if you are ever going to get better and if you can still play,” he said.
“It’s been a year since I’ve kicked a football. You doubt yourself a little bit but at the same time it’s important to stay positive.
“I am pretty confident within myself and my own ability that I can be successful in the future.”
Helping to keep his mind off the grind of rehab is Michie’s university degree, which he is studying part-time at the University of Western Australia.
“I’m completing a bachelor of arts, doing two subjects a semester,” he said.
“That’s definitely important, to have something to do on your day off and something else to focus on to take your mind off football and rehab.”
The Victorian was given a major confidence boost recently when the club signed him on through to the end of the 2013 season.
“It’s been great that the club have signed me again,” he said.
“It shows that they have faith in me and that they are going to back me and support me, despite me having been injured for the majority of the time I have been here.
“It’s peace of mind because I can take my time to make sure I’m right and not think that I’m running out of time and try to impress them.”
Michie and the club are not putting a timeframe on his return.
“It’s important to be pretty conservative with it, having done it a few times now,” he said.
“I think I’m better prepared and I’ve learnt more about my body.
“The most important thing is just to take time and make sure it’s completely right.
“However long that takes, that’s what we will do.”