No matter the sport, athletes are always at risk for injury. Bruises, pulled muscles and even broken bones can happen when out on the field. And rugby player Shona Jeanette Mihan is no stranger to the dangers associated with full-contact sports.
“I’ve managed to break my collarbone twice,” admits the 17-year-old Island School student. “Having that setback and coming back into the sport each time has been my biggest challenge.”
Injuries – especially bone breaks – can have long-lasting impacts on athletic performance. “The first time it took a short period of time, but I was able to get over it with time and many hours of strength training,” Shona says.
“However, the second time, coming back was extremely hard, as I had fear factors,” she admits. “I did not want to break it a third time.”
And in a full-contact sport like rugby, there’s no room for fear. It’s a tough sport, with even tougher players. “I had to get over my fear of tackling and being tackled,” she says, adding that she has started taking extra precautions to protect herself. “I now wear body armour to protect my collarbone.”
But protecting her body doesn’t just come from body armour or special gear. Shona says she has to train right to play her best and protect herself on the field. “My shoulder was not as strong as it should have been,” she admits. “So I had to prepare with weightlifting and body weight exercises to increase the muscle in and around my shoulder.”
Shona has played rugby for her club team, the Sai Kung Stingrays for nine years. She is also an Openside Flanker on the Hong Kong National U19 Girls team. “I was named captain for the New Year’s Day tournament in 2016,” she says. “To be given the chance to lead a strong team was my highest personal achievement.”
For Shona, the high-risk factor of rugby comes with equally high rewards. “My favourite thing about rugby, is that the people I play with have seen me in many different moods and situations yet they alway seem to be able to make me happy,” she says. “My teammates have my back on and off the rugby field, and that is one thing I would never trade in for anything.”
You can have any superpower you choose for 24 hours. What do you choose and how do you use this power?
I would choose to have the power of mimicry, where you can watch someone doing something and then automatically be able to do it. This would help me in many situations, like for school homework that I’m stuck on, or I could scan one of the world’s best rugby players and be able to have their level of skill and knowledge about rugby so I could use it in a game situation.
If you could have an unlimited supply of anything, what would it be and why?
I would have an unlimited supply of French toast ’cause they are so OMG amazing and it tastes amazing.
Ten years in the future, you are a famous athlete. What company do you sign on as spokesperson for, and what product do you promote?
I would sign on to Kukri and I would properly promote leggings or sport bras as they are the two products I wear most of the time.