Chelsea’s Fran Kirby was told she ‘may not play again’ during recent illness
Chelsea forward Fran Kirby was told she ‘may not play again’ after a recent illness that saw her sidelined for the majority of last season.
Kirby was diagnosed with pericarditis, a condition relating to swelling around the heart. But she proved medical professionals wrong as she was back at the Blues for pre-season and took to the field last weekend in the Women’s Community Shield.
“There was a period where I was told by the cardiologist that if I don't slow down, I could become chronic and not play again,” she said.
“I had no idea what it [pericarditis] was when I got diagnosed with it, and I [did not find] one story where someone said they had overcome it.”
The last time Kirby took to the pitch in the WSL was against Manchester United back in November and she will return against them this afternoon.
"Hopefully the day after the Manchester United game coming up won't be as dramatic as the day after the last!"
And she added she was determined to get over the illness.
"It just made me realise how precious these moments are, for you to play football, and you should never take things for granted.
"I've found a new energy for everything. I've found myself again, which has been the most important thing through this whole process. I've learned a lot about myself and the people around me and how important they are.
“I knew I was going to get over it. I knew that eventually I would be able to come back, whether it took two weeks, whether it took six months, I was like, 'I'm going to get over this'.”
Kirby has said she has renewed energy and her team-mates are saying she is like a new signing.
"If I'm honest, I feel better actually as a player, I've been able to really focus on certain things that I probably wouldn't have been able to do if we'd just gone straight back into a season.
"I've been able to have a proper pre-season, get my fitness up. I've felt really good in training. The girls around me, they're saying that it's like having a new player, a new signing."
United v Chelsea will kick off this afternoon at 2.30, is available to watch on BT Sport, and NewsChain will be live blogging the match.