The life of a footballer is filled with peaks and troughs. Melbourne Victory's Mitch Austin has experienced the full range by 26-years-old.
English-born Austin collided with a fellow Victory player during training in November, 2017. While his first reaction was intense pain, he had no idea what the extent of the injury would be.
“I’m not ashamed to say I literally cried straight away,” Austin said.
“As soon as you say ‘ACL’, you know it’s a 12-month kind of injury.
“Just going that long without playing, I’m coming off contract as well, you wonder what’s going to happen with your future.”
Austin described the innocuous collision as "part and parcel of the game", but that didn't make it any easier to deal with.
"At first I thought my knee was just dislocated. For 10 seconds it was the worst pain of my life, and then it subsided and I thought, 'Oh, it must have gone back in.'
"The rest of the day I was hanging around the offices, waiting for the scans to come in, and when they did...," an emotional Austin pauses for a moment, before continuing, "it obviously wasn't what I wanted to hear.
"As a player, you're never fully mentally ready to get an injury, especially a long-term one.
"You've just got to surround yourself with people who care about you, and want you to do well."