Katie Power is hoping to return to competitive action over the summer months Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
After an injury-ravaged nightmare in 2020 Kilkenny Camogie star Katie Power is nearing a return to action.
The four time All-Star winner went through it all last year. First she broke her finger twice, then - just when a return for the championship looked likely - a dislocated kneecap left her on the sidelines for the remainder of the year.
Power took some solace in seeing her team-mates win the All-Ireland crown in December, but still admits the last few months have been the toughest she’s faced.
“I’m in a much better place now than what I was in about 10 or 12 weeks ago,” she said, speaking at the launch of the Littlewoods National League. “I was in a brace and all I could do was keep my leg straight, so I was just moving from the bed to the couch for those three months.
“That was definitely the most difficult part, going from being so active and working two jobs, as well as training others and training with Kilkenny and then nothing.
“I was always on the go consistently and then all of a sudden I can’t even get into bed by myself or make myself a cup of tea,” she recalled. “You become so reliant on others to do everything for you. There were tough days, but I knew I was going to get out of the brace at some stage and that kept me going to start moving forward again.
“Thankfully the last few months have gone fairly well and every week or two there seems to be a small bit of improvement so that’s all I can ask for really,” she added. “The summer is in sight for me.”
The surge of Covid-19 cases at the start of the year ensured the camogie calendar had a delayed start, but for Power it offered a chance to get some much needed rehab in ahead of the new season.
“From a selfish point of view the break from games has certainly helped,” she admitted. “Not that the management or physio would be rushing me, but when I was looking at the other girls in training there was maybe a sense of panic that I needed to get back, whereas for the last five months I’ve just been working away by myself when there was no training or any talk of when games would be played.
“I had a great block focussing on myself with no distractions so I’d say I was the only GAA player happy with the time off,” she smiled. “However, I was glad to get that stint in as I was only after coming out of the brace. It worked out for me as regards the timing and I’m just happy to be back on the field now.”
Kilkenny recently returned to action when they beat Dublin in the opening round of the league. While Power was named on the bench and played a small part in the warm up the classy forward is still looking at things long-term.
“I’ve no specific date, time or match set out for a return,” she said. “I still have two screws in the knee and that is making the recovery a small bit more difficult, but I do hope to be back on the field for the summer.”
News that female inter-county players are to receive the same expenses as their male counterparts was something that was widely celebrated across the country and with the split season also getting the go ahead there are some big alterations in the female game.
“The vote was so high from intercounty players on the survey because there’s always a bit of fear that club and county would clash,” she said. “If you hear counties are training you think to yourself that as players you should be doing something.
“If it kept going the way it was there was a chance county players would be pulled from their club and nobody wants that.
“That’s why last summer was so enjoyable as the club had a window to itself,” she said. “That’s why the split season is so important in both codes.
“I’m delighted the club players will get a proper go of it now and I think this is probably the best option for everybody.”
Off the pitch
There has also been big changes off the field for Power in recent weeks with news that she has become a full-time personal trainer.
The two-time All-Ireland winner had been juggling working in TJ Reid’s gym with a job at Michael Lyng Motors, but a packed schedule meant something had to give.
“When the lockdown hit last March and April everyone was at home and I continued to work the two jobs,” she said. “Even before Christmas, when I was in the brace, I thought to myself that I can’t continue working in the gym at 6am and then on to Lyng Motors for the rest of the day.
“As enjoyable as both jobs were it was a difficult decision to leave Lyng Motors as I really enjoyed it and I couldn’t have a higher praise to say about everyone there, but it comes to stage where you are either going to take a chance or you are not. I didn’t want to look back and have regrets in five years’ time.
“It’s something I’m hugely passionate about and I love it,” she said of her new role. “It doesn’t really feel like a job to me. I love being in the gym and training people as well as myself, so I said I’d take the chance when I was young and able.”
Changing jobs in the middle of a pandemic may seem a risk to some but Power was keen to take the chance.
“I’ve no illusions that it will be easy, especially in the first 12 or 18 months which will be difficult but I’m willing to put in the work,” she said. “I knew this before I started and it didn’t put me off so it’s an exciting new chapter.
“The gyms will be back open in a couple of weeks and people will be mad to get going again as they have seen the impact exercise has on your mental health,” she added. “While it was a big decision at the time I’m delighted with it thus far.
Hopefully I get a bit of luck with it.”
Who could argue with that? If anyone is due a bit of luck at this stage it’s probably Katie Power.
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