Former Wasps netball star Baker puts future decision on hold after injury struggles - The Coventry Observer

Former Wasps netball star Baker puts future decision on hold after injury struggles

Coventry Editorial 20th Dec, 2022   0

POPPY Baker has admitted that her latest injury heartbreak has put her make-or-break sporting decision temporarily on hold.

The versatile Coventry-based star, aged 20, is part of both England’s Roses academy in netball and was also selected as part of the World Class Start Programme from British Rowing – and realised she was reaching a stage where it will be difficult to give 100 per cent to both as she reaches senior level.

But having only recently recovered from a torn Achilles and playing for England against the UK armed forces, Baker suffered another injury setback as she tore her anterior cruciate ligament.

That ruled her out of action for a significant period of time and has prevented her from moving towards a natural decision on her future.

Baker said: “It was about four or five months ago now, I was really lucky to get back on court after my Achilles, I got to play for England in a bit of an exhibition match against the UK Armed Forces which was really special.

“I got to wear the England dress which was something I had wanted to do for such a long time, I was loving being back on court with Wasps.

“But then, unfortunately, I picked up another pretty serious injury, I tore my ACL when playing for Wasps in a warm-up game for the Commonwealth Games.

“So it has been quite a strange time for me these past few months.”

Injury was not the only major event affecting Baker’s career, with her club Wasps going into administration.

That means when she does return to fitness, she will have to join the exodus leaving the Coventry-based club and seek opportunities elsewhere.

Baker added: “I was so sad to see Wasps go, this was my third or fourth season with them so it is so sad and it is a real shame as well because I had some chats with some of the coaches with the club who said I was heading towards having some senior exposure with the club.

“That was something I was particularly disappointed with because it is something that you work your way up from the development.

“Having to see senior players and coaches leave and look elsewhere for opportunities is really sad, but I have seen great resilience from all of them to just bounce back and crack on so hopefully we will see them go on to do great things.”

It has certainly been a very difficult year for Baker, recovering from one serious injury and being hit with another almost straight away, before seeing one of her potential career paths significantly affected by off-field issues.

But she is trying to look at it in the most positive way possible, with injury giving her more time to make her decision.

She said: “The one thing that injury does do is give you more time, I definitely think that had I not done my ACL I would be in a completely different spot now and I probably would be in one sport.

“I guess that is my silver lining with this injury, it has given me more time to just get my head down and not have to make that decision right that second.

“Both sports have their positives and their negatives, but I think this time has given me a lot of opportunity to just knuckle down with the rehab and get as much training as I can do under my belt and then hopefully when it gets to summer and probably more of a decision-making time.

“So then whichever sport I decide to go into, physically I will be in a really good place and be able to hit the ground running.”

Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit to find out more

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