17 May 2020

England and Chelsea star Fran Kirby talks of 'coming out of hibernation' after her physical and mental battle back from illness

England and Chelsea forward Fran Kirby has spoken frankly about her fight to get back into training after illness forced her to take time away from the sport.

Kirby revealed  how she was left feeling at her ‘most vulnerable’ when diagnosed with pericarditis last year and has at times even considered retiring.

The illness, which involves an inflammation around the heart, has kept the 2015 World Cup bronze medallist out of action since Chelsea's game against Manchester United on November 17.

Talking on The Football Show on Sky Sports News  the 26 year-old revealed the difficulties associated with the illness that left her sofa-bound.

“Physically I wasn't able to do anything,” she said. "I wasn't allowed to do any walking, anything that would stress my heart or stress me.

“I was so tired, I couldn't move really. I was fed up,” she added.

“I came back a couple of times to try and train but just had another setback, and then another setback.

"But each time I was able to train for longer without having symptoms. Then I would experience symptoms for a week or two."

For Kirby, it was the exhaustion caused by the continual stop-starting that made the experience ‘mentally tough’ and left her feeling distant from those around her.

“I couldn't really have many conversations with people because I just felt so tired,” she said.

“I would start a conversation, then switch off and not finish.

“I had people around me that could see I was that poorly and still trying to help me, even though sometimes I may have come across rude - I was just in a fog in my head, to be honest.”

But now feels she is ‘coming out of hibernation’ and is raring to train properly again and is full of thanks for those who have supported her.

“People have been messaging me every day,” she said.

"Little things like that mean so much even if I was taking two or three days to answer back because I just wasn't on my phone, I was exhausted I didn't even want to look at my phone. 

"Now I can have those conversations and thank those people."

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