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England’s Rosie Galligan on battling meningitis and career-threatening injuries and ‘loving’ rugby again |  Rugby Union News


Rosie Galligan in action for England in the Six Nations contest with Wales

It was the Oreo waffle and ice cream her teammate Poppy Cleall had delivered to the hospital, and her father’s McDonalds treat kindly delivered by a nurse dressed head to toe in protective gear, that helped d some way to cheer Rosie Galligan up in September 2019.

Isolated in her bedroom, Galligan was still coming to terms with how her life had been turned upside down in a matter of days. After he began to vomit and lost all strength in his legs one evening, Lock England and Harlequins’ condition worsened. In the morning, she was given the blue light for A&E and was quickly diagnosed with meningitis.

“I was placed in my own room, in quarantine, because of his contagion,” Galligan told Sky Sports. “I can’t fault the NHS. They basically saved my life. They said if I came a day later I could have been amputated from the waist down. It’s just a weird feeling that now I’m sitting here with no long-term conditions. I’m very grateful.”

The messages of support were a big source of warmth for Galligan, and after 11 days in hospital, she was discharged. Yet just under four months later, she would receive emergency treatment again – this time for a career-threatening injury sustained on the rugby pitch.

Galligan had played three games as she continued to recover when she fell into a lineout in a Premier 15 game against Worcester. The injuries were significant. In addition to breaking her ankle bone, she fractured a bone in her leg and tore three ligaments.

Looking back, the 23-year-old thinks maybe she shouldn’t have played so soon after suffering from meningitis.

“Looking back, I probably wasn’t ready, but I was fit and available for selection. the floor on gas and air and I said ‘Rosie, now it’s your turn to fully disconnect’.”

She has watched the incident but admits it is “quite traumatic”. Even now, serious on-field injuries suffered by others – such as England team-mate Abby Dow’s broken leg against Wales two weeks ago – “set you back”.

“People tell me ‘Rosie, stay in the moment and stay focused’. I’m glad to have people around me to support me and help me through this.”

The Saracens, where Galligan was playing at the time of his life-threatening illness and serious injury, and his close-knit friends and family, were all there to help him rebuild his career – and his life.

“I have to say a huge thank you to my family and the family of (England team-mate) Zoe Harrison too. Because, without them, I couldn’t have come back (after an injury) as quickly as I did.

England’s Rosie Galligan on battling meningitis and career-threatening injuries and ‘loving’ rugby again |  Rugby Union News

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England captain Sarah Hunter has described a record attendance for their Six Nations game against Wales as a turning point in the women’s game.

England captain Sarah Hunter has described a record attendance for their Six Nations game against Wales as a turning point in the women’s game.

“The Saracens were phenomenal. But the support that my friends and family gave me on the hard days, everyone pitched in because I don’t think anyone really realized at the time that I could have died. . I think it’s that realization that when I came back to play was ‘oh my God, you’re here’.”

After leaving Saracens for Harlequins last summer, Galligan’s rugby career got off to a good start. So much so that she was called up to the England squad for the Six Nations campaign and earned her second cap in 1,000 days after making her debut against Ireland in February 2019.

After starting in the 57-5 win over Scotland in Edinburgh, the 74-0 triumph in Italy and securing a 15-minute run in the 58-5 win over Wales in front of a record-breaking single-game crowd at home to England of 14,689 at Kingsholm, Galligan is looking to add to his four caps against Ireland this Sunday at Welford Road, Leicester.

“This season I started loving rugby again,” added Galligan. “Moving to Harlequins gave me time to reflect and grow into the person I wanted to be both on and off the pitch.

“I probably didn’t realize that I had lost a bit of myself after my injury and illness, so it was a time to collect my thoughts and set my goals.

“With sport you have to realize that you might get hurt or not be able to play tomorrow, so I take every opportunity and play with a smile on my face. People say when I’m on the pitch I have the Looks like I’m having the best time of my life.”

Galligan also uses her platform to educate others about meningitis and how to spot the signs of infection.

“I am now working with a meningitis charity, because I just want to show that it can happen to anyone. I hope to educate people my age to tell them about the symptoms and understand what meningitis is. . It’s something that’s really important to me.”

Despite setbacks and trauma, Galligan now relishes savoring the “small victories” and moments that helped bring normalcy back to her life, like the day she was released from the hospital.

“On the 10th day of hospitalization for meningitis, I was ready to go home and ordered an outing outfit.

“My mum and I were browsing Asos and I was like ‘this is what I want to wear when I leave the hospital.’ It was just a nice casual jumpsuit, but it was just good to feel a bit of normality. “

England’s Rosie Galligan on battling meningitis and career-threatening injuries and ‘loving’ rugby again |  Rugby Union News

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England lock Poppy Cleall called the team “incredible” as they aim for a fourth consecutive Six Nations title.

England lock Poppy Cleall called the team “incredible” as they aim for a fourth consecutive Six Nations title.

Looking towards the end of the Six Nations campaign, a potential Grand Slam decider awaits with France next weekend, and the potential for another celebration.

“It’s my birthday when it’s the game against France. I hope it’s a birthday party and a big party. I hope we have a good few weeks ahead of us.”

The icing on the cake would be a place in the World Cup squad for the tournament in New Zealand later this year, and in current form you wouldn’t be betting against it.

“I try to take every opportunity I can. There’s a lot of talent in this group, and a lot of talent that hasn’t been in that 30-man squad. But going to the World Cup would be a dream come true. “




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