Sam is an Ironwoman and #1 ranked Australian and World touch football referee.
There aren’t too many people out there who would pick themselves up every time they were knocked down. It takes someone pretty special, very dedicated, with some massive aspirations.
After three major reconstructive surgeries, Sam had to re-learn how to run again three times in three years while striving to be the best at what she does.
She thought her sporting ambitions were what defined her and made her who she was. But there is far more to this amazing woman.
This is Sam’s incredible story.
World Cup 2015, with a hamstring that was 76% detached, she made the decision that she would rather fully detach her hamstring trying to get through a once in a lifetime opportunity to be number one in the world, than to quit.
“I trained pretty much every day, some days twice a day as I was also doing triathlon at the time… silly right… I had NO IDEA about nutrition, I was starving my body, training every day, and usually only eating once maybe twice a day. But I knew no better.
I didn’t want people knowing I was injured. I even booked the date for my surgery during that tournament. Crying at nights as I tried to get mentally and physically ready for the next day.
I came out ranked as the number one female touch football referee in the world. This was something I never dreamed of achieving, to be the best in the world at something… wow, that’s a cool feeling!”
Her hamstring, which was 98% detached by the time it was surgically repaired, kicked off a long and frustrating 12 months of rehab. And for the first time, re-learning how to run again.
While she was just getting back on the touch field, she hurt her back at the gym doing deadlifts, which resulted in a completely ruptured L5/S1 disc and sciatic pain. Not a great prognosis for an athlete, especially not one wanting to return to the World Cup in 2019.
Sam joined Lozzie Life for its debut program in 2016. With a pending spinal surgery, she also had another mission; to look “hot” for her wedding later that year.
“We very quickly came to love these sessions and the body changes that were coming as a result of good nutrition and properly structured, supervised strength training that was individualised for us.
Ultimately though, I was still training for touch…. that was my defining thing right? The who I am and what I do definition that gives me security, self-esteem and purpose, the thing that makes me a someone.”
She did, however, make an absolutely stunning bride.
In 2017, she had a spinal fusion of L5/S1, which kicked off another long 12 months of rehab, where she literally had to re-learn how to run again for the second time.
“From 4 weeks post-surgery, I was welcomed to come and watch my [Lozzie Life] team train. This was one of the highlights of my week. I was spending a lot of time at home alone, house bound and very limited to what I could do. This inclusion meant volumes to me, and to gradually progress from rehab exercises to a gentle program specific to me, guided by Loz… my physio, trainer and nutrition mentor, I am truly blessed to have had this support with me, to see me achieve my best. This is why I train with Lozzie life.”
In March 2018, Sam refereed her first nationals since both major surgeries.
“I’m not going to lie, I cried after my first game, it had been a big few years and it meant a great deal to me to get back to national level.”
But either Sam has shares in Lamborghini or just supports her surgeons’ love for them, because not long after nationals she managed to tear the ligaments in her left ankle, requiring yet another major reconstructive surgery. The third time in three years she had to re-learn how to run.
Despite this, she still had a dream to get to World Cup 2019.
“It was nothing to do with being number one anymore, it was personal for me, to show myself that after all the adversity, I can still get back to represent my country one more time, and then hang up the boots on my terms, not because my body failed and dictated it to me.”
For political reasons, World Cup 2019 did not happen for Sam. Which was upsetting and disappointing to get so close, only to fall at the last step. But it has given Sam the time and space to reflect on where to from here.
“What I have very recently learnt and come to understand is that I no longer wish to define myself by being an elite touch football referee, who was once the best in the world. I no longer wish to train just to drag my ass through from one tournament to the next. I no longer wish to use 90% of my annual leave to attend touch tournaments. I say ‘no’ to any more surgeries, for the sake of being able to call myself a touch football referee.
I find a great deal of strength, empowerment and positivity from being a Lozzie Life kid. I love how this strength of mind and body translates to all aspects of life. To be around a bunch of people who are all on their own personal journeys is really inspiring, and I want to be one of these people. Not some person who trains for the sport that she thinks defines her.
It’s just rad to train with other people who think about training and food like you do.
These people are my people, down-to-earth, humble, quiet achievers, achieving amazing things and inspiring everyone around them. It’s infectious and I love it”
A fellow referee and friend once said to Sam that you need to consider if your achievements outweigh your goals.
“It has taken me just over 12 months to understand this, but now I do. I am content with my achievements, and don’t have any great goals left to chase in touch.”
Sam now looks forward to a steady trickle of achievements in other areas of life, being in the best health possible.
Her and husband, Tim, are the longest serving loyal members of the Lozzie Life crew.
“I started with Lozzie Life when it was born…. and I’m not leaving.”