Injuries are a fact of life for most elite athletes. But Jade Wall seems to have had more than her fair share.
Wall, who will be a part of the Aussie Spirit team that will play in the National Pro Fastpitch league in the USA this coming season, has rebounded from elbow and shoulder injuries that required surgical reconstructions.
The injuries kept the outfielder out of softball for all of 2017, but she recovered enough to play for Queensland in the 2018 Gilley’s Shield.
“”It was my second should reconstruction and first for the elbow,” she says. “It pretty much wiped me out for the whole year.
“It’s feeling really good now. The Gilley’s Shield in January was the first tournament where I got to give it a whirl. It wasn’t too bad. It got the job done. It’s come a long way and I’m really happy with it.”
Having made it through the Gilley’s Shield without any major issues, Wall had to put her right shoulder and elbow through some more strain at the Denso Series in Adelaide and the Asia Pacific Cup in Sydney.
Aussie Spirit Head Coach Fabian Barlow liked what he saw in those tournaments, and soon after Wall was selected for the NPF season and the XVI Women’s Softball World Championship in Chiba, Japan.
“Jade is a really important member of our hitting group as she has the ability to break a game open with the long ball or the patience to pick a walk to lead off an inning late in the game,” Barlow says.
“She is a very strong athlete who brings a great attitude and strong work ethic to every training session and has a great energy about her.
“If Jade can produce her best international performances over the next few weeks and months she will be a critical player for us at the World Championship and someone who can have a big impact every day we play. “
Wall, 29, is no stranger to the green and gold, having represented Australia 47 times, beginning with the 2009 Canada Cup.
Originally from Hervey Bay in Queensland, she moved to Sydney to pursue her career as a Federal Police officer. Trying to combine professional and sporting careers can be difficult, but Wall says her employers have been understanding.
“Work has been very supportive from the start with all my softball commitments, whether it’s getting to training or going to the gym. They’ve been really helpful,” she says.
Like several of her teammates, she won’t be able to play for the full NPF season but will leave Australia on June 16 and will be available for the last 22 games of the 48-game season.
Wall has played in the US before, but only on travelling teams. The NPF experience will be all new to her, but she has been asking questions of some of her teammates who have played in the league previously. So she knows what she’s getting into.
“It’s a lot of games, very full on,” she says. “You’re very softball minded while you’re there. You’re either training or you’re playing.
“I’m kind of excited about that because you don’t get that opportunity here in Australia. To be able to play for a couple of months and play five or six days straight is pretty exciting.”
That sort of schedule is sure to be a severe test for that reconstructed shoulder and elbow, but Wall is confident all will be fine.
“I’m trying to get it back to 100 per cent, but at the end of the day it doesn’t need to be 100 per cent until we get to Japan,” she says. “I’m really happy with how it’s progressing at the moment.”
The Aussie Spirit’s first game in the NPF is on May 19. Most of the Aussie Spirit games will be streamed live on NPFTV, which will be accessible through the National Pro Fastpitch website.