Sunday 16 December 2018

Football family rallies around Sligo star after health scare

Noelle Gormley of Sligo. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Noelle Gormley of Sligo. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Cliona Foley

Noelle Gormley is grateful just to be part of the Sligo squad for tomorrow's TG4 Connacht intermediate final after recovering from a terrifying football-related illness that left her life in danger.

The St Nathy's veteran won an All-Ireland junior medal in 2006 and a Division 3 title three years ago and, in her 14th year in the county jersey, was still playing well enough to get a TG4 All-Star nomination last year and chuffed to get her first call-up for the All-Stars trip to Thailand last March.

But even before the touring party had landed home, the Sligo goalkeeper was feeling unwell and events then took a shocking twist.

"I thought it was just jet-lag, I was feeling very lethargic and couldn't eat. I hadn't eaten really for 10 days.

"We got home on a Friday, I went to the doctor on Saturday and into hospital for tests on Sunday and suddenly I was rushed into a side-room and told I was heading for kidney failure," she reveals.

"I took a normal knock in the match, played on, everything was fine. If the injury had happened here I'd have been fine but because of the heat my kidneys went into shock and weren't filtrating," she explains.

"My creatinine was through the roof and so was my potassium, which can result in cardiac arrest. I went through 18 bags of fluid initially and then it was a waiting game."

Gormley got out of hospital nine days later but is on a long-term recovery plan to regain her full kidney function and has just returned to work after needing more than two months off to recover.

"I have tests every two weeks, you feel like a bit of a lab rat but my consultant has been brilliant," she says. "Every day is a challenge because you're adapting to the medication and the tiredness levels.

"I went from training six nights a week to not even being able to walk because it was changing my blood and I'd no energy.

"I've got back training individually and doing a little bit collectively but it all depends on how I wake up."

Her football family has also provided huge support.

"When I was in hospital the club and county girls were in to visit me before and after training and I've got texts and calls from all over the country...everyone has been so supportive."

Ω Gormley was speaking at the launch of FitrWoman, a special app designed by scientists and performance experts Orreco (founded in Ireland).

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