A passion for art born in high school has helped Maitlan Brown remain fully focused on the rehab required to make her return to cricket.
Four years ago, and without a WNCL contract, Maitlan’s career was in limbo. That all changed when a call came in from Cricket ACT, offering her a spot on the Meteors’ list.
A sustained run of form with the ball saw her earn a first Australian call-up in September last year before injury struck two months later – a torn hamstring tendon that has kept Maitlan off the field ever since.
However, a new opportunity has presented itself.
Maitlan’s passion for design and technology led her toward an industrial design degree at the University of Canberra, where she was named Emerging Artist of the Year around the same time she got injured. This meant she had the opportunity to feature in Craft ACT’s Emerging Contemporaries Exhibition in Canberra with her masterpiece, a lounge chair made out of recycled PET bottles using a 3D printer capable of larger scale production.
“Every time I get injured, I try and look at the silver lining,” says Maitlan.
“In this case it was that I was able to commit my focus to developing that art piece and work on my design without having to stress about juggling training. I think if I wasn’t injured and still had cricket full-time, I wouldn’t have got my chair done in time to feature in the exhibition.”
In the early stages of Maitlan’s recovery, there wasn’t much else she could do.
“It was an awesome distraction because I was doing something rather than sitting at home, playing PlayStation or not being productive.”
Maitlan’s study fees have been offset via education grants from the ACA for each year of her degree, which has relieved some of the stress of an overhanging HECS debt. The long-term commitment of studying is one that Maitlan is really glad she’s made.
“Our Player Development Manager in the ACT, Leah Mirabella, has been awesome for me and really encouraged me to study, particularly after I moved to Canberra. I have enjoyed it so much, it hasn’t felt like I’ve been studying for four years,” says Maitlan.
“If I didn’t have design then, especially during these last few months I think I would have felt pretty lost and a bit lonely.”
Being able to spend a lot of time on another passion has allowed Maitlan to have a renewed focus on returning to the cricket field and getting back to the levels she was at before her injury.
“It’s really nice to have things other than cricket going on in your life sometimes, especially if you’re not performing you can get so caught up on it.
“If my whole world was cricket, I feel like I would go a bit insane. So, I really like that I fill up my life with all these other things to make me not feel one-dimensional.
“It’s nice to de-stress, disconnect and think about something else for a little while, to get your focus back onto performing on the cricket field.”