Sasha Acheson has seen her dream of starring at next month’s Women’s World Cup cruelly dashed after suffering a serious knee injury.
The 23-year-old former Sudbury Rugby Club player looked set to represent the nation in France and was preparing to stake her claim for a starting place having been invited to the pre-tournament training camp.
However, that all changed in April when Acheson suffered a serious knee injury, ending any hopes of making the squad and fulfilling her dreams.
“I had been invited to the camps and was in line for a place at the World Cup and things were going really well before I got injured,” said Acheson, who featured for England in the Autumn Internationals and Six Nations competitions. “It was a pretty bad tackle and I knew straight away that something had gone horrifically wrong.
“I now need an operation and I will be out for at least a year.”
But while others may understandably get bogged down by the disappointment of missing out on what would be the highlight of their sporting career, Acheson is taking a different outlook on life.
Having reflected on what may lie ahead in the immediate future, Acheson is now setting her focus on inspiring the next generation of female rugby stars, but from a coaching point of view.
That new direction has already seen her take training with Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club’s female team the Foxes, while she has also been named the new manager of the Bristol Ladies, the team she played for before injury.
“It is not all bad news and I’m trying to keep positive with everything,” she said.
“I am staying determined and in a strange way this has focused me.
“That is the only way I can be otherwise I will drown in the negatives.
“As soon as I got injured I immediately did my coaching certificates and have been given the opportunity to manage the Bristol Ladies team which is really exciting.
“All my focus now is on encouraging other girls and to me I think the possibilities are endless.
“I’m trying to get other girls into the game and be an inspiration that way.
“I want to help provide a legacy to other girls to be able to go out and achieve their dreams.
“That way this incident has not been a total waste.”
But despite switching her focus to matters off the field, Acheson has not given up on making an impact on the field again sometime in the future.
“Now my aim is to be back in time for the next World Cup which is 2017,” she added. “It is gutting that my dream isn’t going to happen, but there is no question in my mind that I will be back playing better than before, watch this space.
“This isn’t a stop to me it is just a speed bump and will get over it.”