With Rugby being such a physical game it is not uncommon for players to face months on the sidelines with career threatening injuries. One thinks of the likes of Joe Cokanasiga having faced months of rehabilitation since the 2019 world cup. More recently Abby Dow breaking her leg in last weekend’s international vs Wales which could potentially cause her to miss out in Octobers world cup.
Sometimes these career threatening injuries become just that. In terms of England scrum halves you only have to look as far back as talented number 9 Harry Ellis. The 27 cap international was forced to retire at the young age of 28 following a number of knee injuries.
Current womens scrum-half Claudia MacDonald has now had to come to terms with such a prospect. During last year’s autumn internationals the 26-year-old Red Roses player sustained a nasty neck injury during a lineout, which has kept her out of action ever since. Despite being repeatedly informed that she would be ‘back in action in a few weeks’, MacDonald is now facing the very real possibility of early retirement due to an acute prolapsed disc and another bulging disc. These injuries have an expectancy of 12-18 months to heal, if at all.
Speaking to BBC Sport, she said: “Some days it knocks you for six. Some days I’m desperately upset about it, some days I’m angry, some days I’m in denial and still think I can play and my neck is absolutely fine, especially when I’m running around in training.
“Other days I can get excited and look forward to whatever might be next. It’s all over the place really.”
MacDonald was offered 2 surgeries on the injury but chose not to have either of them as the second would have certainly caused an immediate end to her rugby career.
The result of choosing not to have the surgeries has meant that MacDonald has to wait for her injuries to heal. Causing her to lose out on her England contract, as they are designed for players looking to make it to the world cup.
“I made the decision not to have surgery. I knew the decision I was making. I was definitely saying goodbye to this Six Nations, probably the World Cup, potentially rugby forever.
“It was a hard decision to make but at least it’s been made now.”