Injured javelin thrower Kim Mickle is adamant her dodgy shoulder will be able to hold up to the rigours of Aussie Rules footy after signing on to play with Fremantle in the AFL’s new women’s league.
Mickle underwent surgery last month after dislocating her reconstructed right shoulder while competing at the Rio Olympics.
But in a shock move, Mickle has joined Fremantle’s new women’s team on a rookie deal.
The 31-year-old is still planning to defend her Commonwealth Games gold in 2018 on the Gold Coast.
In the meantime, she wants to make a name for herself in Aussie Rules.
Many experts are wondering how Mickle can play football after undergoing two rounds of shoulder surgery within the space of a year.
But Mickle said her recent surgery was different to the first one, and would actually allow her shoulder to stand up to the rough and tumble of football.
“It’s the same as what Nat Fyfe had done, and he was playing after 12 weeks of his surgery,” Mickle said on Wednesday.
“The reason why we did the first surgery with anchors was to keep flexibility in the shoulder for a javelin throw.
“But as everyone saw in Rio, it didn’t hold my shoulder in place when it came to the crunch time.
“So we’ve now opted for the (different) repair, which will make a stiffer shoulder, but a stronger shoulder.
“In terms of footy, that’s brilliant. In terms of contact, it’s no dramas.”
Mickle says even if she loses 10 per cent of range in her shoulder by choosing the different type of surgery, it won’t have much of an affect on her javelin throw.
The two-time Olympian has little experience playing footy, having been forced by her parents to give up mixed football as a junior for fear she would get injured.
“It was just a bit rough for the boys with me being in their team,” Mickle joked.
But despite forging a successful athletics career, football has remained a big passion for Mickle.
“I warm up with a footy in hand all the time,” Mickle said.
“I’m always kicking around with the boys.
“I’ve got a good boot on me. I’ve got some good hands on me.
“In terms of getting off the ground and up, that’s the bit where I’ll have to do some work.”
Fremantle also signed WNBL title winner Gabby O’Sullivan as a rookie, while Ebony Antonio and Kirby Bentley joined as priority selections.
The inaugural women’s league season will run from February to March next year.
Mickle is confident she’ll be ready to play by round one.
Fremantle weren’t the only ones to get into the Olympic spirit, with basketballer Erin Phillips signing with Adelaide’s women’s team.
Phillips is a dual Olympian and is playing for the Dallas Wings in the WNBA in the United States.