Northern Ireland star Simone Magill: I had to learn to walk again after Euro 2022 injury heartbreak

When Simone Magill suffered the shattering blow of a cruciate ligament injury on the big stage of the Women’s Euro 2022 final, she immediately knew it was going to take a long time to get back to full fitness.

he agreed that she would have to walk before she could run. However, the big bombshell moment for her was when she realized that one of the first steps in her rehabilitation was actually learning to walk again.

Even taking her pet dog Paddy the Carlin – who was made famous through Magill’s social media – for walks had to be planned with almost military precision.

The good thing for the Northern Ireland striker – if anything good can come from seeing his team-mates battle long-term injuries – is that there are plenty of shining examples in the team international who have bounced back stronger from similar experiences, with six others who were on the Euros panel suffering from cruciate injuries in the past.

“I actually had no idea that I would completely lose the ability to walk and have to relearn how to do it,” Magill revealed.

“I just didn’t think it would be like this.

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Simone Magill

Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

Simone Magill

“I remember being in my living room and my husband, Mark, was teaching me how to walk and the mechanics of walking – heel to toe, bend the knee, straighten the knee.

“I completely lost the ability and couldn’t do it.

“He had to tape me so I could look back and see which way I was walking because I thought I was walking normally. It was really weird.

“I’m doing well now and everything is coming back to normal, but those first six weeks were something else.”

Thursday, July 7 was always going to be a date Magill would remember forever. Playing for Northern Ireland in a major tournament was a lifelong dream and coming out against Norway in Southampton meant that dream came true.

Now, however, she will always look back with mixed emotions. Planting her foot on the turf at St Mary’s Stadium after 80 minutes, her body and knee were not perfectly in sync and she immediately knew that not only was her tournament over, but that it was going to be a long time before that she does not. to make his debut for new club Aston Villa, who had only announced his signing the day before.

“I know so many people who have had their crucifixion before and say they heard a pop. I literally felt the ligament separate,” she revealed, recalling the graphic detail of the injury.

“It wasn’t even that I was in that much pain, deep down inside I knew what it was and I was so frustrated and so angry and I think that’s why I was so upset.

“I went into the locker room and I was just in pieces.

“The doctor was doing the tests – there’s a specific ACL test they do to check if it’s intact – and he was pulling it and comparing it to the other knee and I knew straight away. I didn’t. didn’t need to wait for the results of the scan. I could really see the difference between the two.

There were tears in the team hotel that night. Her teammates Sarah McFadden, Julie Nelson, Demi Vance, Ashley Hutton, Laura Rafferty and Abbie Magee all gave words of encouragement, but even without those heartwarming expressions she could see how these six players came out on the other side .

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Simone Magill


Simone Magill

William Cerise/Presseye

Simone Magill

Today, nine weeks after the operation and after overcoming the obstacles she overcame, Magill wants to set an example for others.

Social media has allowed her to reach people she never could have reached before.

Her own posts have kept fans updated on her progress, but deeper than that there’s a connection to others going through the same thing – and gave them encouragement that she too is having her struggles despite the having experienced professionals guide her daily through the recovery process.

“It’s a good opportunity to shine a light on the other side of things as well,” Magill added.

“I don’t want to go out and be like it’s all easy, I didn’t struggle, I went through rehab and I’m back on the court.

“There’s a whole other side that people probably don’t understand or see.

“I said if I’m going to release stuff, I want it to be real.

“Through this, I connect with so many people – professional and non-professional – who have suffered the same injury.

“The number of people I’ve been in contact with who have said it’s amazing talking to me because they’re struggling, they’re in pain and it’s so nice to know that’s happening to me too, and that I’m not superhuman because I’m a professional athlete and I navigate through it.

“I think there is an important message that can be sent as well.”