Samsung Life Kim Na-yeon’s determination after rehabilitation

※ This interview was conducted in the middle of November 2022, and was published in the December 2022 issue of Basket Korea Webzine. ( Link to purchase Basket Korea webzine )

If you are an athlete, it is difficult to avoid big and small injuries. This is especially true in intense sports involving physical contact, such as basketball. Kim Na-yeon, who suffered a major injury last year, anterior cruciate ligament rupture, spent a difficult time recovering from a hamstring injury this year as well. She is and now that she has returned, she is working with extraordinary determination to ‘show off and survive’. 

She said, “When I was a student, it was a system where I was promoted when the time was right and graduated when I finished my third year. On the other hand, pro is where I have to show off and survive. So I took care of myself and became more diligent. I don’t want to get hurt anymore. I want to repay you as much as there are people who support and look forward to it. I will always do my best with a grateful heart.”

Kim Na-yeon (180cm, F), wearing a Samsung Life Insurance uniform, ranked 8th overall and 2nd in the 2nd round at the unforgettable 2017-2018 WKBL Freshman Selection on June 28th . He made his first appearance in the regular league in the 2018-2019 season, and also won MVP in the Futures League that season. Although he doesn’t play a big part in the team, he diligently continued his workouts. Meanwhile, Kim Na-yeon faced a big ordeal. At the end of June 2021, the right anterior cruciate ligament was ruptured in the process of preparing for the Park Shin-ja Cup competition. Kim Na-yeon said, “I got hurt while defending in the practice game before the Park Shin-ja Cup. He had surgery and was rehabilitated until April of this year,” he said, regretting the 2021-2022 season that he missed in vain. 

He went through a painful period of rehabilitation both physically and mentally. And Kim Na-yeon returned in the off-season ahead of the 2022-2023 season. Bad news came upon him once again. Kim Na-yeon said, “There is a saying that when you are in good shape (excessive work) you get more injured. It was time for him to come back after a long time, finish Taebaek field training, and prepare for Japan field training. While running during his training, he suddenly felt his legs give out and fell. He went to the hospital and they said he had torn his right hamstring.”  바카라

There must have been a lot of heartache from consecutive injuries. Kim Na-yeon said, “It was mentally difficult. She also felt pressure to start over. Even in her freshman year of high school, she had injured her (her left) cruciate ligament, but she was different then. At the time, she didn’t think it was too hard because she had 2nd or 3rd grade left, but she’s a different pro. She was really sorry that she had to throw away a year. I was eager to try really hard this year because I couldn’t help the team before, but when that happened, I felt like I was falling apart,” she recalled the bitter time. 

She added, “There are a lot of people on my team who have injured their cruciate ligaments, so there were a lot of people who could sympathize with me. ‘Right, it was like this. At that time, yes, ‘she relieved a lot (her psychological burden) by talking to her in this way. She didn’t ask if I was okay. Because she knows she’s not okay. However, she did not leave me alone in the room and came to talk to me, so I think I was able to get rid of her upset heart quickly,” expressing her gratitude to her colleagues. She added that she herself said she would never forget June 28th. Kim Na-yeon said, “Last year she injured her cruciate ligament on June 28, but this year her hamstring came on June 28 as well. From now on, she will take a vacation on June 28 and not do anything at home,” she said with a wry smile.

Kim Na-yeon returned last September after a 3-month hiatus following a right hamstring rupture. At the time of the interview, she is recovering her stamina and sweating for the day she can play. He also played 7 minutes and 47 seconds against Woori Bank in Asan). 

Regarding his physical condition, he said, “It is getting better gradually,” and said, “The coach also told me to raise his stamina first. During training, I am finding my senses by acting as a practice partner for my teammates. Last year, I was only in the rehabilitation room, so it didn’t feel like a season. But this year, we warmed up at the gym together and went on expeditions, so I can feel that it’s the season.” 

To the question about participating in the Futures League, which will be held from the end of December, he replied, “I can’t do it 100%, but I’m trying to do what I can to support my teammates.” He also talked about what he gains from watching the game from the outside. Kim Na-yeon said, “It’s definitely different from what I do and what I see. I think watching from the outside is learning. I am listening to the coach’s words and tactics well,” she said, revealing the effort she is making in her position. 

“I don’t personally remember anything. As a team, we have won and runner-up, but I think it just went away. It’s a pity that I didn’t show a good performance during the season, but I admit it because I did it. First of all, I prioritized not getting injured.”

Kim Na-yeon, who once thought about going to college, said, “The professional wall seemed high, and I didn’t think it was a level I would put on.” She continued, “I thought about what I could do while studying at university and working out at that age. I thought the trainer would be fine too. But while I was rehabilitating this time, I heard a lot of stories from the trainer teachers, and the teachers said that I wouldn’t have been able to do it because I’m the shy type (laughs). I feel fortunate to have turned pro,” she said. 

Kim Na-yeon said, “When I was a freshman, I just thought it was difficult. Then, in her second year, when she won the Futures League MVP, playing 5-on-5 with her older sisters made it fun to play. The more I did, the more difficult it got, but I still want to learn more. It’s really different when you look at veteran unnies. I also want to do well,” revealing her greed for her development. 

Finally, he said, “When I was a student, I was promoted when the time came, and when I finished my third year, it was a system where I graduated. On the other hand, pro is where I have to show off and survive. So I took care of myself and became more diligent. I don’t want to get hurt anymore. I want to repay you as much as there are people who support and look forward to it. I will always do my best with a grateful heart.” 

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