Leeds Rhinos Women player Lois Forsell has been forced to retire at the age of 28.
Forsell suffered an ACL injury in the 2018 season during the Rhinos’ match against St Helens, and further complications with the injury mean she has been forced to call time on her career.
She said: “This was the worst decision for me to make and I am heartbroken that I will not be able to play again.
“After suffering the ACL injury in September 2018, I had a reconstruction operation in November. At this stage I was still hoping to be back playing the following season, but I then found I had osteomyelitis which is a bone infection, which was a result of the first surgery. I was then admitted to hospital for a month and had to have a further five operations.
“During this time I was still thinking about rugby and getting back playing, but my doctor was more concerned about saving my knee. In July I had another operation to get some biopsies and remove scar tissue and pins and this all came back ok, so I was looking at moving forward and how I could get back on the pitch.
“Unfortunately, in the week leading up to this year’s Grand Final I had another check-up and was told I needed another two operations, including a bone graft to fix a hole in my femur. These would have taken between 18-24 months and involved serious risks and no guarantee I would be able to play again.
“Following this news, I came to the very difficult decision that I would retire from playing. It was not the outcome I wanted and although my head knows it is the right decision, my heart did not want to make this call.”