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Chelsea and England striker Kirby reveals battle with debilitating heart condition

Having missed the past three months with pericarditis, the 26-year-old says she is on the road to recovery.

Fran Kirby is recovering from the viral illness.
Fran Kirby is recovering from the viral illness.
Image: PA

CHELSEA WOMEN’S TEAM striker Fran Kirby is confident she is “on the road to recovery” following a tough few months fighting a debilitating illness.

The 45-times capped England international has not played for the Blues for three months after being diagnosed with pericarditis – inflammation of the pericardium, the fibrous sac that surrounds the heart.

The 26-year-old suffered with a severe lack of energy and was sleeping for up to 15 hours per day.

The road back has so far been a long one for Kirby who, although not training again, is at least in a position to be with the squad.

Explaining her condition on the club’s website, Kirby said: “I am feeling 100 times better compared to when this started.

“I was struggling with understanding how it happened and why it happened as I was feeling good with no injuries and enjoying training with the team, so it was frustrating at the time.

“When I became ill the frustration went away as I didn’t even have the energy to be frustrated. I had no emotion as I was too tired. It took over my life in a negative way. I couldn’t even get up to make food.

“Now that I am feeling more like a human being, I can smile again and be in a room with people again.

“Before, when people were having conversations with me, I couldn’t acknowledge them. I was just sitting there thinking ‘I am so ill, I am so ill’, it was just constantly on my mind.

Now I am coming to the other end of it, I am back around the girls more. I have the energy to come in or go to the pool when they are doing recovery.”

While Kirby is desperate to return to action, she realises she has to be patient, otherwise it could lead to a setback.

“I want to be back on the pitch more than anyone,” added Kirby. “I also know it will take time and I am not going to heal overnight, and it is a day-by-day process.

“I know how ill I was and I don’t want to go back to that. I want to make sure when I come back I am 100% with no symptoms and I am ready to go.

I am getting there. I have more energy and less symptoms, but I need to go slowly as if I come back too soon it could be another three weeks out.

“There is lots to look forward to at Chelsea and for England and I am on the road to recovery. There are important games coming up and I am really hopeful I can be back to take part in them.”

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