The 21-year-old Saracens and England Lock, who picked up that precious first cap against Ireland in this year’s Six Nations, became ill in late September with a sore throat, loss of sensation in her legs, heavy body, sweats and a rash. As her recovery continues she is now more motivated than ever, and this weekend hopes to make her comeback game. Rosie tells her story here.
“It had just turned 10pm the night before game day and my body all of a sudden felt really heavy. I had a few cold symptoms through the day so thought it was best to get some sleep. I went up to bed and tried to sleep. However, my legs started feeling really agitated."
“A few hours later I was throwing up - something didn’t feel right. I rang my dad, who drove an hour and a half to pick me up. When he got to my house I had lost the ability to weight bear. I had to bump down the stairs into the car."
“The following day my mum noticed a rash. She rang 111 for advice. They sent out an ambulance as I was still in a lot of pain. I was taken to Maidstone Hospital straight away - my heart rate was triple my normal rate and my legs were throbbing."
Tested for septicaemia
“When I got to hospital I was tested for septicaemia and my bloods were taken. I was given a private side room, where I stayed for 10 days on antibiotics and a drip. I couldn’t walk for a week - which for a young, fit rugby player was very hard to accept."
“I hit a wall mentally on day three. I cried my eyes out when I was told I had meningitis. My mum and dad came to visit me every single day - they were incredible!"
“After a week, I started to feel slightly better. I started saying I was bored to the nurses, and all of them said that was a sign of getting better."
"On day 10 I was released and had ‘Hospital at Home’ for two days. It was so nice to have a bath and sleep in my own bed."
Taking to the rugby pitch again
“Two months and a lot of tears, anxiety and training later, I am hoping to take to the rugby pitch again!"
“My road to recovery has been short in the grand scheme of things, but it has felt like a lifetime! After a week of being out of hospital, I was allowed to do a six minute, extremely slow bike ride. I was shattered! Now I am doing 30km bike rides and back into full training."
“I am very lucky that I acted the way I did when I started feeling ill."
“I feel incredibly lucky to be able to say I have come out of this experience feeling more motivated than ever. I have started working a lot harder than before and more focussed on what is important in life."
“My whole experience was a massive eye-opener and I am so glad I am able to now share my story and help others.”