AS a sports science graduate, Lauren Tait knew quicker than most the seriousness of the situation when she felt her knee go for the second time in her netball career.

The 25 year-old had not long moved to London to sign up with Surrey Storm when the diagnosis came back – a second torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and a first meniscus tear too thrown in for good measure.

There is no quick recovery from that and so the Peebles player had little choice but to undergo the lengthy rehabilitation that would keep her off the court for the best part of two years.

That has meant next to no domestic netball but on the positive front her return to fitness has arrived in time for her to be named in her first Commonwealth Games squad.

It has been a slog to get to this point but she hopes it will all be worth it when she lines up in Birmingham for the Thistles.

“It’s been tough, I’m not going to lie,” said the goalkeeper. “It was my second ACL - my first meniscus injury - so unfortunately I’d been through it all before.

“I got selected as a training partner with Storm when I moved down to London two years ago and then a few months into that I got the injury. So I’ve been just a dutiful cheerleader at the side. But they’re a lovely group of girls who have helped me through it.

“Preparations to get ready for the Games have been tough. I don’t think I’ve done as many fitness tests in my life! But we’re getting there.

“Hopefully I’ll be back to my best or it was all for nothing. But I played my first full game about a month ago after about two years out. In my whole netball journey I’ve missed four years overall which is a lot of time to miss. But hopefully I can make up for it in the years ahead.

“I’ve been back home almost every weekend for the past few months to train and get myself fit again. My social life has died a death! But it will all be worth it I’m sure.”

Tait has featured for Scotland at the World Cup and hopes her first multi-sport experience will go on to surpass that.

“It’s definitely starting to feel more real,” she admits. “In my gym down in London they have a countdown to the start and every time I’m in there it just keeps hitting home how close we are now.

“It’s my first Games so I’ve spoken to a couple of the other girls to try to get more of an idea of what to expect. They said it’s an experience that’s hard to compare just because of the multi-games angle. So I’m excited to be a part of that. If it’s anything like the netball World Cup I’m sure I’ll have a great time.

“Ideally we would like to match where we are in the world standings by achieving a similar-placed finish. So we’re going to shoot for that but hoping of course to do better.”

As part of her Masters, Tait undertook placements with the Tottenham Hotspur women’s team and London Irish rugby. But after gaining her qualification, she has chosen to meander down a different career path.

“I managed to get a full-time job at Putney High School in their PE department,” she revealed. “So I’m one of their netball coaches and going to be teaching A Levels next year which is exciting.

“At the moment I’m aiming to do more of the teaching than the sport science side of things. There’s a high performance element at the school too so me and another teacher do S&C [strength and conditioning] sessions there, getting the kids into the gym and doing some of that side as well.

“And we were under-14 national champions this year so it’s going well. It’s good fun being a teacher. I can relate to the kids quite well and it’s great to see their progress.

“Life in London, though, is expensive and really hot! Thirty-five degrees is not what I’m made for. But this is home for now. I don’t know if I’ll be here forever but I’m quite liking having a new adventure. I moved down at two weeks’ notice so it was a bit of a spur of the moment thing so we’ll see how it all pans out.”

She has one final examination still to pass, however, with her Scotland team-mates.

“There’s a team singing competition coming up I believe. We all get on well as a team, we’ve all been through the ringer at different points so we can all offer advice and support when needed. There’s a connection there which is quite special. If you can’t get up on stage and sing in front of them, then how can you play with them?! I think I’m going to go for a bit of Spice Girls. I’m a terrible singer but I’ll give it a crack.”