HAVING faced the reality of retiring prematurely, Sydney co-captain Lauren Szigeti successfully underwent neck surgery last week.
Szigeti, 22, played all 10 games in the Swans' inaugural year, having become the first player named as captain in her first AFLW season since the competition's initial year of 2017.
The operation – a cervical discectomy and fusion – generally involves removing a damaged or degenerative disc to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and neck, with the surrounding vertebrae subsequently fused together.
"Lauren underwent a cervical discectomy and fusion last week," Sydney head of women's footy Kate Mahony told womens.afl.
"She is recovering well and looking forward to a break over the holiday period. Lauren will be able to gradually return to training over coming months and we expect she will be available for round one in season eight."
The tenacious midfielder, who finished sixth in the club's best and fairest this season, documented the confronting decision on her Instagram account.
"The choice of giving up footy or getting spinal surgery was a pretty crazy thing to hear, but what a huge reminder of how much the sport means to me," Szigeti said.
"Here’s to heading into 2023 with an extra strong neck."