GB Hockey are sad to announce that Emily Defroand will not be available for selection for this summer’s Olympics due to injury.
The midfielder – who has played 55 games for England and Great Britain so far – has been ruled out as she continues to recover from a serious back injury initially sustained in January.
Having done everything she could to return to the pitch as soon as possible, Emily suffered a relapse of the injury in March that has meant she will be unable to be considered for the Olympics later this year or play for England at this summer’s EuroHockey Championships.
The recurrence of the problem left Emily in considerable pain and she will continue to receive the full help and support of GB Hockey and their medical team.
The 26-year-old said: "I struggle to find the words to explain the rollercoaster of emotions that I have experienced over the last four months.
“My hopes and dreams of playing at an Olympics – the second time around! - lasted just four days before I noticed discomfort in my back. As a result, my Olympic year was pretty much over before it had begun.”
Despite her injury, Emily will do everything she can to help the squad over the next few months as they prepare for the Tokyo Games.
The Surbiton player said: "First and foremost, I will continue to focus on my recovery. I hope that I will be able to return to some form of normality soon and enjoy the luxury of being free from pain and discomfort.
“I am also determined to use all of my energy and positivity to support the squad this summer. My own personal disappointment will always come second to the team’s success and I will pride myself on being as big an influence as I can, albeit from the sidelines.”
Mark Hager – the Great Britain women’s head coach – said: “Throughout what has been a very trying time for Emily, all of our thoughts have been with her. Emily’s commitment to the team will be greatly missed; the laughter she brings is infectious and I know the staff and her team-mates will miss that.
“Emily’s tenacity will be missed not only on the training pitch but also out in the battle of competition. I look forward to her speedy recovery and wish her well as she progresses through her rehab.”
GB Hockey’s Performance Director Ed Barney added: “It’s been an incredibly tough year for Emily. She’s gone about her rehab with the attention to detail and commitment that is an example to all. We all wish Emily the very best over the coming weeks and months as she returns to full health and fitness.
“To not have Emily’s presence around the squad day-to-day is a real loss. Emily has an infectious smile, energy and charisma which lifts all of us, whether in person, or on a video screen!”