Crummer: Playing for my country is something I never let go of

Earlier this week, Head Coach Tony Gustavsson announced the 24-player CommBank Matildas squad set to take on Spain and Portugal later this month. One exciting return to camp was Larissa Crummer, who just two years ago not only believed she would never play football again but could also lose her leg entirely. 

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"It's definitely unbelievable. It's obviously been a while since I've been in the squad so it feels surreal," Crummer said of her long-awaited re-call.

With 23 caps to her name, the last time Crummer donned the green and gold was back in 2018.

Fans of the A-League Women's would remember Round 13 between the Newcastle Jets and Adelaide United. Crummer collided with Adelaide United goalkeeper Sarah Willacy and when the tough forward lay on the pitch for almost 15 minutes, spectators knew this was a serious injury.

Larissa Crummer

Crummer was later whisked away by ambulance and fears were confirmed when she later revealed she had suffered a broken tibia (shin bone) and fibula (calf bone) in her left leg and required the insertion of a steel rod via surgery.

The surgeon told her that her injury presented like one that had been sustained in a motor vehicle accident and Crummer would be in for a difficult healing process.

Firstly, she suffered with Compartment Syndrome due to the pressure in her leg from blood and fluid. She needed this drained and spent several weeks in hospital with an open leg, waiting for the swelling to go down. It was here that she was told if they had waited any longer to treat her, Crummer could've lost her leg. 

Three months later, she suffered a bone infection so it was surgery number three to have her steel rod removed and replaced, and then later, she had to have all the screws in her leg taken out as they were causing discomfort.

Crummer Broken Leg

After an arduous two years of healing and recovery, football was far from her mind. Crummer's goal was to simply walk pain-free again, but in adding exercise back into her regime, she was given an opportunity that would change her career.

"I'd pretty much made up my mind that I wasn't going to be able to come back to football," the apprentice plumber said of her ordeal.

"My goal was solely to get my fitness back, so Jake (Goodship) at Brisbane Roar offered for me to train with them, and I did. After a while, he asked me to sign on with the club, but I told him I wasn't ready.

"After a few weeks, he asked me again and this time I said yes. It was honestly the best decision I made. By then, I was ready, and he knew it."

Larissa Crummer of the Roar in action during the round one A-League Women match between Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar at Macedonia Park, on December 04, 2021, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Crummer made that decision back in early 2021 and in playing her first A-League Women's season after missing two seasons, she scored three goals in 10 appearances.

Not only has Crummer been called up for the friendly matches against Spain and Portugal, but she's also been selected to represent Australia at the AFF Championship. She says she is relishing the opportunity to get back into the game she loves.

"I just want to get my name back out there, I want to be consistent in the way I play, play good football and hopefully that leads to me being in and around the Matildas in the future," she said.

"We have such a great bond within the team and I really miss that."

She says a lot has changed since she last played, but not her desire to represent her country.

Larissa Crummer

"It's been three years and I guess it's something that I'm going to have to keep working on for the rest of my life (my injury)," she explained.

"It's been a hectic journey and it's definitely helped me to grow as a player and a person. As a player, I've learned the game a little bit more. I think I've become a bit fitter, I'm faster and I'm stronger from all the rehab.

"But as a person, I think have a completely different outlook on life. I've got a partner now and I've got two little ones from her, so I think everything's just different these days... But playing for my country is something I never let go of."

Spain v Australia  
Date: Saturday, 25 June (local) / Sunday, 26 June (AUS)  
Time: 9.30pm (local) / 5.30am (AEST)  
Venue: Estadio Nuevo Colombino, Huelva  
Broadcast: Network 10, 10 Play and Paramount+  
Portugal v Australia  
Date: Tuesday, 28 June (local) / Wednesday, 29 June (AUS)  
Time: 9.00pm (local) / 6.00am (AEST)  
Venue: Estádio António Coimbra da Mota, Estoril  
Broadcast: Network 10, 10 Play and Paramount+ 

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This article was originally published on the CommBank Matildas website.