WHAT IT’S LIKE TO… LOSE A LEg THROugH RugbY

Grace Matthews ex plains the “f reak ac­ci­dent ” that changed her lif e

Rugby World - - FRONT ROW -

OU MAY have heard about it at the time. The date was 21 Fe­bru­ary 2016, Ol­ney v Bletch­ley in a ta­ble-top­ping women’s match. At 2.26pm, Bletch­ley prop Grace Matthews car­ried the ball up and was tack­led af­ter pass­ing to her fly-half. In­stant agony.

It took an hour and a half for the am­bu­lance to ar­rive – “I was get­ting quite ag­i­tated,” says Matthews – and then came the hos­pi­tal surgery. A lot of it.

First, an ar­te­rial graft, tak­ing artery from high up the leg to re­pair the dam­age fur­ther down. Then a fas­ciotomy, slic­ing the back of the leg from knee to an­kle

Yto re­duce the swelling. Next, a sec­ond ar­te­rial graft be­cause they didn’t use a big enough blood ves­sel the first time. Fi­nally, a con­ver­sa­tion. “We’re go­ing to re­con­struct your knee. By the way, if there’s too much dead mus­cle we’ll have to am­pu­tate.”

And, as you know, they did.

“It was weird be­cause I woke up af­ter the op and the nurse was there, but I didn’t ask her,” says Matthews, 26. “The con­sul­tant came over half an hour later and it was only then that I said, ‘Is it gone?’ Be­cause you have this phan­tom sen­sa­tion, I didn’t know that it wasn’t there. I could have asked the nurse, or looked my­self, but for some rea­son, maybe be­cause I was so drowsy, I didn’t.

“And when the doc­tor told me it had gone, I said ‘thank you’ be­cause I was in so much pain. I was on IV mor­phine every five min­utes, so it was a relief.”

Matthews bears no grudges to ei­ther the game or the tack­ler, who came to see her at her home. “The tackle might have been a frac­tion late but you get to that point where if you’re com­mit­ted, you can’t stop your­self. My right leg was planted and it’s where she hit me.

“So it was a freak ac­ci­dent. Peo­ple who play rugby know these things might hap­pen. The risk is al­ways there.”

Amaz­ing GraceIn her for­mer guise for Bletch­ley Ladies

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.