A chronic injury has ended the 2015-16 WNBL season of Bendigo Bank Spirit guard Sarah McAppion.
The 25 year old has struggled with a back injury for most of the season and has returned home to Canberra to focus on the long recovery ahead.
The former Canberra Capital said the decision was a hard one.
“Simon, Walshy and Dave are such great coaches but also wonderful people and all the girls are amazing,” she said.
“But, I finally realised I have pushed my body past its limits in the past few years and I need to step away from the sport now to ensure I have any kind of pain-free playing future.
“I would have loved to continue at Bendigo for the remainder of the season, and Simon wanted me to stay, but he understood how frustrated I was with my body not allowing me to play at the level we both knew I could.”
Sarah said she would miss the team, the club and the Bendigo community.
“I would like to thank the Bendigo community for welcoming me in and showing such support to a new member of the team,” she said.
“Many people opened their homes to me, of which I can never repay. The club has such great support from all our sponsors, especially the great guys at Bendigo Truck Centre, and to the board, who have been driving the club along in a great direction, I also thank.
“Jimmy of Fusion Physiotherapy and my Canberra physios have done a tremendous amount to get me back on the court in such a short time frame.
“Also (strength and conditioning coach) Craig has been so patient with me in the weight room and very supportive to get me back to full capacity at training.
“I am honoured to be a part of a great team and I can’t wait to sit in the stands and watch the girls make it to the grand final.”
Pritchard said Sarah was a great asset to the team on and off the court.
“She worked hard on the track and has improved with every session,” he said.
“She has also done a lot for us in the community, as the organiser of our regular training sessions with Girton Grammar.
“We wish her well and will keep a close eye on her for the future as she, no doubt, will work just as hard at her recovery as she has done while in Bendigo.
“She is a fantastic person as well as a fantastic basketballer.
21-year-old Ebony Rolph will be promoted to the playing squad.