Joey Morrison Road to Recovery
Joey Morrison Road to Recovery
January 21, 2024
Joey Morrison is currently in Oman at the Hockey Olympic Qualifiers with the Men’s Black Sticks who have just qualified for the Paris Olympics. We sat down to chat with him about being named to the team after a year off from hockey with a long term injury, and what the recovery process was like.
After being named to the Black Sticks in 2022 and then getting injured at the Commonwealth Games, Joey persevered through the injury to continue playing in the Pro League and the Men’s World Cup in January 2023. After the World Cup Joey realised he “needed to take a break and heal up properly” however he didn’t apprehend how long it would take “I thought it would be three weeks of no running and then a slow build-up back into it, but when I was still getting pain in March I knew it was going to take a long time.”
Joey took his rehab seriously, no running or any hockey at all for months, missing out on several international games, the Ford NHC, and the entirety of the local club competition where he plays for the Marist Hockey Club. “It was hard knowing I was missing out on so much, but I stayed connected helping Sam (Grimshaw) coach the Marist boys, and it was good having Charlie (Joey’s younger brother) with the Black Sticks keeping me in the loop.”
With his sights set on the November Black Sticks camp, and the Paris Olympics in the back of his mind. Joey then got stuck into his rehab “First I had to heal, then I had to change my entire running technique to avoid having a repeat injury, and this was a very mental process.” Joey also worked on cross training “I got really into Pilates, going along with some of the under 21 boys to Four Physio, who have fantastic Reformer Pilates classes, as well as swimming and muscle work at the gym.”
At the November camp Joey was relieved at how his body had held up, “Having not played hockey for nearly a year I was nervous if I had done enough” but all the physical rehab and mental training had paid off, “I thought I only played okay, as I had mostly been focussed on my body’s health rather than hockey techniques, but it was enough for Greg (Nicol, Black Sticks Men’s Head Coach) to call me up for a few of the games at the Korea and Malaysia practice series, which was a selection opportunity.”
Performing well at the practice series Joey was offered a place in the Olympic Qualifier squad, and his confidence in his body and skill was on display as he assisted with the opening goal of the tournament, just seven minutes into the first game against Chile.
When asked what advice he has for other young people overcoming serious injuries Joey said “I always used to shrug and think whatever when I got an injury, in high school I was playing and training hockey 7 times a week with no cross training, which is crazy to me now! It’s so important to have access to resources and physio and to get in early with treating an injury rather than assuming it will get better on its own and having it blow out into a major deal. But you also shouldn’t let a major injury hold you back, it’s inspiring how many of the Black Sticks here in Oman have had serious injuries with many having major surgery who have worked hard to recover and continue playing the sport they love.”
Canterbury Hockey Association CEO, Shane Maddaford has praised Joey and his journey back into the top team, “he is an absolute inspiration, not only for his wonderful talent on the field, but also for his amazing focus and dedication to remain committed to this rehabilitation. Having to watch so much hockey for a year at this stage of his young international career was so tough for him, but he stuck with it, while also continuing to give back to Canterbury Hockey’s next generation through coaching, and now it is so pleasing to see one of hockey’s nicest personalities back out there representing our country and doing what he loves. It is truly a great story”.
On behalf of the Canterbury Hockey team and entire community, Congratulations to Joey and all the Black Sticks men for qualifying for the Paris Olympics!