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Photo Credit: Jade Cvetkov Photography

17-year old footballer Callum McCowatt experienced the highs and the absolute lows of a dedicated athlete last year with the exhilaration of competing in the FIFA U17 World Cup in Chile, then a crushing gradual process injury brought on by the athlete’s curse – overtraining. Callum had to learn the mental skills to overcome it, and now he sees the value in the journey. He tells us his story.

I was injured this past year (2015) and I was injured badly. Not an impact injury, no concussion, not a broken leg, nothing dramatic, although that would have been way more exciting.

New Zealand Football Under 17's men's shirt presentation, Sacred Heart College Auckland, Monday 5th October 2015. Photo: Shane Wenzlick /

New Zealand Football Under 17’s men’s shirt presentation, Sacred Heart College Auckland, Monday 5th October 2015. Photo: Shane Wenzlick /

Rather, I was diagnosed with a pathetic and tiresome thing called osteitis pubis. When it comes down to it this type of injury, it’s most often brought on by overloading, in other words by training too much. We know this kind of situation is becoming more common with youth now all these amazing opportunities are available to us to work and excel early at the sport of our choice.

2015 was a fantastic year for me personally at Olé Football Academy in Wellington and with the New Zealand U17 National team at the World Cup in Chile. However, it was also the most physically taxing year of my short career so far. When I returned to New Zealand in November after our round of sixteen exit against Brazil, I could tell that something with my body was not quite right. That’s when osteitis pubis entered my life and I began my road to recovery.

The thing about overloading issues like osteitis pubis is that they are extremely frustrating. You can’t see it like a broken leg and you can’t feel it like a torn muscle, it just lingers there nagging you at certain times. Sometimes you feel great. Other times you feel absolutely terrible. It’s unpredictable and for months I was a mess both mentally and physically. It wasn’t until April, 5 months later, that I finally felt fit again. That’s when the appendix god showed up at my door. I couldn’t believe it. Osteitis pubis exits and the next minute the appendix enters. Well, actually they took it out.

I learned some awesome things during the time that I was injured. Eating well, sleeping well and maintaining a strong positive mentality are critical when you are going through an injury.

I’m thankful that the people at Proactive and Olé were able to provide me with the support I needed when going through this process, as the next time an injury comes up I will be way more prepared and mature to handle it both mentally (the hardest bit) and physically.

Callum McCowatt

Proactive are proud to sponsor 2 talented footballers currently training at the Olé Football Academy this year. This is a 2-part blog where we ask both boys to share a part of their lives, trainings and the day to day challenges they go through to stay at the peak of their game.


NZ U17 Squad Shirts lined up at the FIFA U17 World Cup in Chile.


NZ Pendants ready for presentation at FIFA U17 World Cup in Chile.


Read More: Ahmad Mohammadi’s FIFA U17 World Cup Blog

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