NAN Latta's storied career has been brought to a premature end.
The champion striker ruptured her achilles tendon in the round 17 match against Corowa-Rutherglen United, saying it felt like she'd been shot.
“I don't know if I'll play hockey again,” Latta said.
“It's torn in an irregular place, so for the level of hockey I want to play at it probably means my time is up.”
In an unfortunate twist of fate, Latta's ruptured achilles is the first major injury she's suffered in her lengthy career.
Coming to terms with the injury has been tough, but like any other champion athlete, Latta has a clear plan for the road ahead.
“I'm going to take a bit of a break from hockey after this season, try to decompress a little bit,” Latta said.
“It was very tough coaching the state league girls on the weekend.
“But I've got plans for the future, even if they don't necessarily involve hockey in the short term.”
Outside of hockey, Latta works as a sports scientist, and will next year launch the Border Academy of Sport, with the hopes of providing aspiring sportspeople in the area the chance to get the professional input she says can sometimes be lacking in regional areas.
“The Academy is where my passion is likely to end up,” Latta said.
“I have a background with the Victorian Institute of Sport and I've worked with the Queensland institute as well, so when I arrived back in Albury-Wodonga I saw that there wasn't really anyone putting their hand up to play that role locally.
“Most regional areas have programs like ours, so we've registered a not-for-profit organisation that we're launching next month, and we'll start working with athletes from January next year.”
While Hockey Albury-Wodonga will quite possibly be without one of its biggest champions for the forseeable future, Latta didn't rule out a return to the sport in a coaching role further down the track.
More than anything though, Latta said she hoped she had passed on her competitive spirit and passion for the game to her successors.
“There's a lot of kids I've coached and mentored in my time, so I'd love to see them progress and find success,” she said.
“Long term there's a chance I'd get back into coaching, but for now it'll be good to have a break.”
Latta represented Australia multiple times in over 35's and over 40's hockey, notably scoring the winning goal in a penalty shootout to secure gold for Australia over the Netherlands in last year's World Championships in Rotterdam, performing strongly as co-captain.
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