Having played floorball since he was 8, Muhammad Haziq bin Abdul Wahab always dreams of donning the national colors and representing Singapore at the international stage.
In early 2019, the 22-year-old became one step closer to his dream. Under a recommendation by his coach, he attended a trial held by the national team and was shortlisted to make a 30-men strong training squad.
In July 2019, Haziq made his international debut at the Asia-Oceania Floorball Confederation (AOFC) Cup held in the Philippines. He then went on to represent Singapore at the Czech Open held later in August.
In the lead up to the South-East Asian (SEA) Games, Haziq didn’t make the main team of 20. It was disappointing but he continued to train hard as one of the 5 reserve players.
Unfortunately, while playing a preparatory friendly match, he suffered a grade 2 partial tear on 3 ligaments on his left ankle after colliding with an opponent.
Haziq recounted: “I spent the night waiting for my turn at the A&E, extremely worried to find out about what the diagnosis was going to be because the severity of the injury would determine the recovery programs, procedures and more importantly the time taken before I can go back into the sport.”
The following months were tough for Haziq. From withstanding pain to having to walk with crutches, his daily routines were severely disrupted because he needed assistance in almost everything he did. He also couldn’t attend his Pharmacy classes in the National University of Singapore for a week.
After getting off his crutches, he had to “dedicate a lot of time and plan for physiotherapy and [rehabilitation] sessions on top of [his] school curriculum.”
For about 2 months, he would go to the gym 3 to 4 times a week, spending 2 to 3 hours during each session to repeat the exercises prescribed by his physiotherapist and trainer to strengthen his ankles.
Haziq said: “Truthfully, it was both mentally and physically draining for me to manage both [school and recovery]. It does get frustrating when it feels like the recovery is plateauing.”
But after nursing his injury for 3 months, Haziq is starting to see improvements in his condition.
“As much as it’s taking quite a little more time than expected, my ankle mobility and strength has been consistently increasing with the rehabilitation and physiotherapy programs I have been participating in.”
He’s also slowly easing his way back into floorball training. Besides his floorball sticks and shoes, he’s also bringing along sports tape, ankle guard and elastic training bands.
Whilst his teammates sweat it out on the court, Haziq trains at his own pace on the side lines. He follows his exercise prescription diligently as he knows the importance of consistency in his recovery.
After completing his rehabilitation routine, he tapes up his ankle to ensure that it is firmly supported.
Haziq then proceeds with the usual warm up exercises carefully, making sure that he does not overexert his ankle.
Although his ankle has not regained its full range of motion, he still tries to play with the stick and ball in controlled movements that his body can manage.
Throughout this journey to recovery, with all its highs and lows, the one thing Haziq constantly reminds himself of is to always look at the big picture.
He added: “I really resonate with the saying ‘the comeback is sweeter than the setback’. I truly believe that the efforts we put in to overcoming challenges would be satisfactory and worth it.”
On his aspirations in the near future, Haziq said: “I envision myself to still be part of the Men’s Floorball Team, be it in the training squad or the final selection team for every tournament to come.”