GERMAN-BASED TT volleyball player Channon Thompson anticipates her return home to resume therapy on a season-ending injury which has now forced her to search for another club.
During a game for German women's Bundesliga volleyball champion club MTV Stuttgart in November 2019, the 26-year-old ruptured her plantar fascia (ligament that connects the heel to the front of the foot) and has not yet fully recovered.
Since the cancellation of the league in March due to covid19, Thompson has been stuck in Germany and unable to receive the required medical attention. Her contract with the pro club also ended in May and was not renewed owed to her inability to play.
This club’s reluctance to renew also saw Thompson lose out on medical insurance and housing, both previously funded by MTV Stuttgart. Following the non-extension of her contract, Thompson has been staying at a friend’s apartment hoping to secure a flight out.
Having previously submitted her application for exemption to the Ministry of National Security on four occasions, the wing spiker recently received her first letter of approval from the TT Government.
She has since bought her airline ticket but still awaits another letter of confirmation from travel exemptions to guarantee re-entry into TT.
“After the first exemption was given, we had to submit travel plans, our proposed flight path and wait for that to be approved," said Thompson. "Once approved, I should receive a final official document with the exemption. So I’m waiting on that right now.
“I was given the go ahead to purchase tickets but not yet given that final document, so I’m really hoping continue to go smoothly because I already bought my ticket," she added. "I’m just a bit uneasy about that but I remain optimistic that everything will come through in a timely manner.”
According to the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association “Most Valuable Player” and “Best Spiker” award recipient, the future of her professional career remains highly dependent on quick and full recovery.
In February, she began to experience injury-related knee pains and had to undergo an operation. Although successful, Thompson still requires much medical attention and constant therapy.
One month later the league was halted, TT closed its borders and Thompson was deemed unfit to fly as she was still restricted to using crutches.
“Since May, I have not been able to receive any therapy because my insurance was over. This meant that any health or medical services I needed, nothing was covered by the club any more. Losing my contract extension for the 2020/2021 season has seen the club bring in new players.
“As a result, when the new girls started arriving, I had to leave the apartment that the club once afforded me to make room for the new player who’s on her way,” she added.
With no source of income after her contract expired, the volleyballer attempted to travel to Curacao to escape rising living costs in Germany. However, Thompson was denied boarding at the German airport since she did not have any continued flights to Trinidad nor a letter of invitation from Curacao.
Added to her stress was attempting to organise a chartered flight home. Coordination and finding a flight, an airline and people to join in on the flight posed multiple challenges.
Amidst it all, Thompson has emerged a better person.
“This experience aided my character building. I feel like I’ve grown. Discomfort is a prerequisite to growth and this has been one of the most uncomfortable situations that I’ve experienced. But we grow through what we go through, if we’re intentional about it and open to accepting the here and now.
“As much as I wanted to be in TT with my family where I could have continued rehabilitation and the journey to recovery, I had to really just surrender I wanted for myself and render it all to God,” she said from her Stuttgart base.
Thompson acknowledged those who came to her assistance over the past couple months and ensured she was well taken care of, especially after being removed from the club. This was her second year competing in Germany, having represented Rote Raben Vilsbiburg throughout the 2018-2019 season.
“If I’m here (Germany), God has purpose for me here. I just have to accept this present moment for what it is, keep my eyes open to see the goodness and favour of God in my life and the kindness of people. My kindness in humanity has not just been restored but…people have just been so kind, I’m lost for words how people have supported and helped me during this time.
“I’m really looking forward to coming home and by August 9 I should be back in TT, safe and healthy. Wherever God leads me next, there I will happily go to fulfill His purpose for my life,” she concluded.
Similarly, Italian-based pro volleyball player Krystle Esdelle awaits her final letter of confirmation from the Ministry of National Security to return home.