Hockey star Nicola White described being “absolutely gutted” as she comes to terms with the heartbreak of being ruled out of Team England for the Commonwealth Games through injury.
The 30-year-old former Saddleworth Hockey Club member took a knock to the head in a practice match and was advised not to travel to Australia due to concussion.
And with England’s first match on April 5 against South Africa, it has been decided there is no guarantee Nicola would have recovered in time.
Nicola said: “Unfortunately the time line isn’t long enough for me to recover and be a certain for performing in Australia, so a decision had to be made, firstly for my health and well-being and secondly for team performance.
“Coming back from my ankle injury in January, this would have been my first competitive tournament since last July. I have been working hard on getting as fit as I can and building my confidence back on the pitch so I could perform my best hockey at the tournament.
“I was feeling in a good place and ready to go, so I am absolutely gutted to be missing out on my third consecutive major tournament due to injury again.”
Nicola damaged ankle ligaments in June, an injury that forced her to miss the European Championships in Holland and final of the World League in New Zealand. She only returned to action in January.
After competing in two previous Commonwealth Games, winning bronze in New Delhi and silver in Glasgow, Nicola was hoping to strike gold on the Gold Coast.
She said: “It is such an exciting tournament to play a part in and it will be a fantastic spectacle on the Gold Coast, though I will now be watching and supporting from back home with family and friends.
“Having already received kit due to internal selection, some of the realities aren’t the most ideal, such as giving back your kit bag to pass to a teammate for the tournament.”
Nicola had also been one of the official faces on Team England as she was chosen to represent hockey at the Commonwealth Games kit launch.
Looking ahead to the tournament, Nicola said: “In Delhi, we came home with bronze. In Glasgow, we came home with silver. So maybe this could be the time for us to go the whole way.
“I would have absolutely loved to complete the collection this time around and I will be cheering the girls on for them to bring home the gold medal. As a squad we are building momentum and it will be a great challenge for us.
“We have never won the Commonwealth Games so it would be a fantastic result for us to achieve.