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Wednesday 13 November 2019

'I had to learn to walk again after rugby injury' - young woman (24) left with life-changing condition

Carmel Creaven has been diagnosed with Spinal Shock Syndrome after a rugby injury
Carmel Creaven has been diagnosed with Spinal Shock Syndrome after a rugby injury
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

A young woman has been left needing serious rehabilitative therapies and has had to re-learn how to walk after an incident during a women's rugby match.

Carmel Creaven, from Tuam Co Galway was playing with her local team, Tuam Ladies RFC, on January 8 when she was knocked unconscious.

She has been diagnosed with Spinal Shock Syndrome but is left with fears that she may never fully recover or will relapse to a state where she has no movement in her arms or legs.

"I don't remember it... I woke up and was in and out of consciousness," she told

"It was just an accident, bad luck," she said of the incident which has changed her life.

She was rushed to hospital, where she would go on to spend almost seven weeks.

"I had no sensation in my legs or arms. I was thinking 'God will I be able to move again?', it was the scariest thing ever. I was in so much pain and shock again.

"That night the sensation came back again but the movement was slow to come back."

After just over a week in hospital in Galway, where she had to learn how to walk again, Carmel was discharged but relapsed less than two weeks later and completely lost the movement in her arms and legs again.

"I'm improving day by day. I can walk now with a crutch but I can't bend my knees so I'm not walking properly.

"The doctors don't know if I'll relapse again or if I'll ever have all my movement back again, so they didn't really give me much hope."

Before her injury Carmel was an active member of her rugby club who also played soccer and was involved in martial arts. She was also a keen runner and cyclist. The dramatic change to her lifestyle as a result of her injury has taken its toll on her she said.

"It hit me mentally because I can't go anywhere, I'm too afraid I'll relapse or do damage. It does affect you. I don't know if I'll be able to work or what will happen.

"To go from being so active and then not being able to do anything."

She is awaiting a place in the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, where she hopes doctors will have more of an in-depth knowledge of her condition.

Her team-mates have set up a fundraiser to raise €5,000 to help cover ongoing therapies for Carmel, which can be found here.

A poker night will also be held in Corralea Court Hotel on April 7 to raise funds also.

"The girls are great, they are supporting me every step of the way," she said.

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