Startling reality that jolted injury-hit AFL star

Carlton’s Charlie Curnow doesn’t want to be known as the injured-plagued football player.

He wants to be famous for his talent and determination, which he proved in his earlier years before a run of substantial knee injuries grinded his promising career to an uncertain halt.

After being managed through Carlton’s final month of football in 2021 – following two years spent on the side’s injury list – before firing in this year’s opening seven matches, Curnow is back chasing the form that ignited his career.

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Speaking to Wide World of Sports as an ambassador for Nena and Pasadena’s new collection of AFL supporter apparel, Curnow said he was relishing being back in the Blues’ forward line as the team set an exciting platform, with a 5-2 record to start the season.

“It’s been a good start to the season (for me) but there’s a long way to go and I just want to keep the momentum going every time I can play with my teammates out on the field,” he said.

“I feel like it’s such a win for me, so I’m pumped to be running out there every week at the moment.

“It’s much more enjoyable playing games than sitting on the sideline that’s for sure.”

The 25-year-old has endured four separate knee issues since straining his medial ligament in a match against Fremantle in July 2019.

At the time, Carlton believed the injury to have a two-to-three week recovery period, however the season soon crumbled away. After that one setback after another opened the gap between Curnow’s 58th and 59th senior games.

This resulted in a long, non-linear and conservative rehabilitation process in which Curnow was held back by the club’s medical team to give him the best chance of success in the long term.

“Before having injuries it was something that I hadn’t experienced because I was able to do 100 per cent of training,” Curnow said.

“Sometimes you know time on legs and training as much as what I used to do is something that can hold me back, so that was a bit of a learning curve.

“I’ve got a good physio group (at Carlton) that has really helped me along the way and has given me parameters of what I can and can’t do … to help me make smart choices around training.

“I think it’s hopefully going to benefit me in the long run, so here on in for me, it’s a mindset of backing things up and trying to get as many games in as possible.”

Kicking 19.11 so far this season, Curnow is well on his way to restoring the flair which saw him kick 34 goals in 20 games back in 2018, yet the patience shown during his recovery continues to keep him disciplined.

“Obviously you don’t want to be someone who’s injured and known for not playing footy. I’ve still got a long way to go to play competitive football and be consistent.”

Partnering with Australian streetwear brand, Nena and Pasadena, Curnow was pleased to showcase the new range which will bring more options for AFL fans to support their team in style.

“The good thing about the range is being able to wear your team’s colors a bit more casually without wearing maybe just your football jumper,” he said of the range.

“It’s changing the style bit, you don’t have to wear a football jumper, you can chuck a jacket on and go support your team.”

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