Ellie on the comeback trail

There are few positives to the current coronavirus crisis, but football’s enforced shutdown at least means Albion midfielder Ellie Brazil isn’t missing any games while she recovers from two knee operations.

By Bruce Talbot • 07 April 2020

By Geoff Penn
Ellie Brazil in action for the Albion.

The 21-year-old ruptured her ACL and partially tore her MCL in last November’s 3-0 win over her former club Birmingham City at the Amex and has recently undergone clean-up surgery to remove scar tissue. She is hoping to be back in action in September or October.

Such injuries are commonplace in women’s football. Thirteen players in the top two divisions of the women’s game have suffered anterior cruciate ligament injuries this season alone.

But Brazil, who joined Albion after a spell in Italy with Fiorentina, is remaining remarkably positive and is grateful to the support of her team-mates during a long period of rehabilitation.

She said, “I had the last operation a couple of weeks ago, the problem I had was with the extension of my knee. There was a lot of scar tissue in there which they have removed but I’ve been lucky to be honest.

“I’d recovered really well so this little extension issue was frustrating because I was squatting what I used to squat but I couldn’t straighten my legs so I couldn’t progress to running. But with the coronavirus I can let it heal instead of pushing it.

Ellie hopes to be back in action in September following two knee operations.

“The funny thing is when it happened we got a penalty which we scored so it was my only assist of the season!”

Team-mate Laura Rafferty is recovering from a similar injury and, according to Brazil, has given her ‘amazing’ support.

“I can’t thank her enough,” said Brazil. “Having someone like Raff with me all the time has been so good, ten times better than doing rehab on your own.

“The last two weeks have been a real pushing point for both of us. I’ve seen her start to run on the treadmill again and that’s a real motivator for me to see her crack on. I can’t wait for her to get back on the pitch.”

Brazil comes from a football family. Her dad Gary played more than 600 games for several League clubs and now coaches at Nottingham Forest’s Academy while brother Jack coaches in Norway. When she made her England debut in the under-17 World Cup in Jordan a few years ago her mum and gran were in the stands to watch.

Laura Rafferty is also on the comeback trail after a knee injury.

“It’s funny, but the day I did it I knew it was my ACL even though structurally my knee was pretty sound.

“When I got to my grandad, I was on crutches, and he said: ‘It’s alright, you’ll be running next week!’ It was just one of those moments when you need someone to make you laugh and help you get through it and I’ve definitely got that in my family.

“Obviously my Dad has been my main influence but my mum came down for three weeks when I got injured to help look after me and support me. She’s been amazing.”

Now Brazil is looking forward to her comeback and helping Albion continue the progress they have made since joining the WSL.

“Don’t get me wrong, I loved Birmingham, I loved Fiorentina but Brighton - the players and management - is the best club that I’ve been at. They’ll let anyone in and treat you like you’ve been there for years. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming.”

Read more from Ellie in an interview on Goal.com here