One of the stars of Harrogate RUFC Ladies’ 2017/18 promotion-winning side is said to be “recovering well” having sustained a horrific injury playing the game she loves.
Leah Birkin, 22, broke her back while in action for Yorkshire Ladies against Lancashire earlier this month.
She underwent major surgery at Leeds General Infirmary to re-attach vertebrae to her spinal column, but is now back at home where she has been visited by friends and team-mates, including her team manager Lucy Barnett.
“Leah is doing well, probably better than we expected at this stage and in good spirits,” Ms Barnett said.
“She is still in some pain, but she is recovering.
“She’s out of the LGI and back at home now, so a group of us went to visit and it was lovely to see her.
“It’s very early days and she has a long road ahead of her but everyone at the club and from the wider rugby community is behind Leah.”
Since taking up rugby, Leah has made a name for herself in both codes of the game.
She plays rugby league for Leeds Rhinos’ ladies side and union for Harrogate, her county and Leeds Beckett University, where she captains the team.
Ms Barnett said that she is hopeful that her scrum-half will make a full recovery, and in order to help her do so, she has set up a crowdfunding page aimed at generating funds to aid the rehabilitation process.
At the time of going to press, more than £4,000 had been raised in less than a week towards the cost of specialist physiotherapy treatment that Leah, from Harrogate, is expected to require.
“Rugby is Leah’s life and it’s heartbreaking to see her suffer such an injury, so it’s just a case of trying to help her however we can,” Ms Barnett added.
“I’m really pleased with the amount we have raised so far, but every penny will count because she is facing six months without being able to work or do very much at all.
“Her consultant recommended a specialist in Leeds and we want to try and ensure that she can get the physiotherapy that she needs there.
“I know that Leah is desperate to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped and supported her since her injury. It’s been great to see so many people coming together and getting behind her.”
To donate visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lucy-barnett-1