Ards and Ireland striker Chloe Brown will be out of action for at least six weeks after fracturing her ankle, representing a huge blow for her club and country.
The 21-year-old will therefore miss Ireland's January trip to Malaysia for the World League II tournament, which is the first stage of the qualifying process for the 2018 World Cup.
Brown bravely played through the pain barrier after being struck by the ball during Ards' Irish Hockey League game with Cork Harlequins on Saturday.
She said: "To say I'm gutted is an understatement - I'm devastated as I had been working so hard for the last four months to get fitter and stronger in order to compete for a place in the squad for Kuala Lumpur.
"It couldn't have come at a worse time for me, although I have to stay positive and see the bigger picture.
"I will be working hard over my recovery period to get back to where I was before this happened.
"I was standing about 10 metres from a Cork free when I got hit and, though I tried, it was too painful to play on and I'll be on crutches for six weeks."