Hockey: Team GB captain Kate Walsh returns to action in defeat to China


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The Independent Online

Great Britain captain Kate Walsh admits the last week has been a whirlwind since fracturing her jaw but she never once felt her Olympics were over.

The 32-year-old returned to action six days after being hit in the face with a stick, which resulted in an operation to insert a titanium plate, in the 2-1 defeat to China.

She displayed remarkable powers of recovery, having only left The Royal London Hospital on Wednesday, and showed little after-effects from the injury.

And Walsh insists she has remained positive ever since being hit in the opening match against Japan.

"You know the way I play and I put my head in some silly positions," said the Reading defender.

"I knew straightaway that I had done something to my jaw because my teeth were halfway across my mouth.

"But my surgeon Simon Holmes was very positive to the point of cockiness.

"I had my faith in him and once he said 'I'm going to do my job and you have to get back and do yours' that is what I have done.

"It's been a bit of a whirlwind to be honest. I came out of hospital on Wednesday and did some training Thursday and Friday to make sure I was fit for the game."

Walsh wore protective strapping around her jaw during her comeback, in which she played the entire 70 minutes, for "peace of mind".

At one point in the first half a ball rebounded up from an attacking penalty corner and she quickly turned her back as it hit her on her shoulder but the three-time Olympian brushed that aside.

"That's the game. It's dangerous," was the response from Walsh, who stressed she was keen for her situation not affect the rest of the squad.

"I was really keen I didn't want to be a distraction," she added.

"We have come here to do a job and the team remained very focused on that."

Walsh's plight even trended on Twitter for a while and she admits since her return to the Athletes' Village she has been noticed more.

"There's been lots of staring to be honest," said the Manchester-born defender, who is currently unable to chew and is eating special shakes and mashed up food.

"But there has been some brilliant support.

"All the athletes are in the village and they want to do their very best at the highest level.

"I think there is that mutual respect and they would do the same.

"You train so hard you will do whatever it takes to get out there and work hard for your team-mates.

"That creates an environment of mutual respect and [thoughts of] 'Good for you girl'."