Elite Facilities. Superior Care

Comeback trail of perseverance for Soncin

3 Mar 2015
Dean Soncin is helped from the field after tearing his ACL in Round 1, 2014 - (PHOTO: Kylie Werschler)

Dean Soncin may not be the most household of names at the Northern Blues on the outside.

Ideally, with 51 Development games and three VFL games to his name, that’s the way he would prefer to keep it.

Soncin holds onto the joys of football, where mateship overrides the result on the weekend. That’s not to say, he doesn’t care of his team’s fortunes – far from it – instead, the laconic 23-year-old appreciates the balance between switching on and switching off.

It’s a wonderful trait to possess, and he’s needed to draw from every ounce of it.

On April 6, 2014 while the Northern Blues celebrated dual wins over rivals Williamstown in both Development and seniors, Soncin’s season was over before it had barely even started.

Soncin remembers the day – or more succinctly, the moment – vividly. A contest, a twist and then searing pain. It’s almost like a telepathy that all footballers share when the innocuousness of an incident meets agony in the knee.

Soncin knew he was done.

“I remember I was really looking forward to last season and looking to have a breakout year,” Soncin said.

“It was a tough break to have. It was unfortunate to have the injury in Round 1 after going through the pre-season without any problems.

“The challenge from there was purely mental to firstly start my rehab and then get back on the track and progress with some movement.”

A first for Soncin in the footballing life of major injuries, understanding the lengths of a torn anterior cruciate ligament was pivotal.

Under the watchful eye of Blues Head Physiotherapist Jay Anderson and the medical team at Recover Sports Medicine, Soncin educated himself on the process along the way.

“At the start I wasn’t fully aware of what it entailed, I didn’t know how long the rehab was going to take or what I was in for.

“Once I got into my rehab, I just hit it head on and did the best I could.

“It was round-the-clock type of stuff, night and day. There was pilates, yoga, hydrotherapy…just any step that I could take to boost my recovery.”

Speaking from this author’s experience, rehabilitation can be a lonely place.

Even with the support of 45 mates around you in the immediate environment, few times are footballers more isolated than when they are watching their teammates kick the football, while the injured man works on rebuilding the strength in his quadriceps muscles.

What did help was Soncin having already planned to get away from it all; a three-month trip to Europe with non-footballing friends in the middle of the year enabling him to forget about the year that might have been on the football field.

“The trip came at a good time. I was just starting to get into the next stage of my rehab where I wasn’t hampered from doing something simple like walking,” Soncin said.

“It was a big mental relief where I didn’t have to sit at home or worry about footy, it gave me a nice chunk of the season to have an outlet and come back refreshed for this season.”

It’s exactly what he’s done.

Last night saw Soncin complete in tasks such as heavy change-of-direction, kicking, pushing off opponents, leading and marking. Things such as pivoting, accelerating and landing – things that seemed almost hopeless 12 months ago – were now habitual movements.

Just weeks, sessions or even days away from joining his teammates on the track for full training, Soncin says he’s confident in the hard work behind him.

“The knee is feeling really strong at the moment and I’m feeling fitter and fitter each week,” he said.

“The hard work on and off the track’s starting to pay off.

“I’d love to start on Round 1, and hopefully have a game into me before then, but it’s just a mental thing from now on.

“I’m ticking the boxes and it will just be in my head to go at it like I never did the knee in the first place.”

  • South Caulfield Cricket Club
  • Victorian Institute of Sport
  • Melbourne Mustangs
  • Melbourne Cricket Club
  • Sydney Swans
  • Williamstown VFL
  • Gold Coast Suns
  • Melbourne Rebels
  • Melbourne Aces
Recover Sports Medicine Working at the Top Level
Memberships and Associations
  • Australian Association of Massage Therapists
  • Sports Medicine Australia
  • Worksafe
  • Dietitians Association of Australia
  • Australian Podiatry Association (Vic.)
  • Sports Dietitians Australia
  • Australasian Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine
  • Australian Physiotherpay Association
  • APPI Pilates
  • The Australian Psychological Society
  • Polestar Pilates Australia
  • Myotherapy Association Australia
  • Medicare
  • Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians
  • Department of Veteran's Affairs
  • Exercise and Sports Science Australia