Women’s Rugby League legend, England international and Leeds Rhinos captain Lois Forsell has been forced to retire due to a persisting knee injury.
The 28-year-old suffered an ACL injury in September 2018, however a bone infection following reconstruction surgery led to a further five operations.
She was set to return to action next season, however a routine check-up in the week before the Grand Final found that she needed two more operations, including a bone graft to fix a hole in her femur, which would rule her out for a further 18-24 months.
“Following this news, I came to the very difficult decision that I would retire from playing,” she told the Rhinos’ website. “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.”
Forsell has been somewhat of a trailblazer for the women’s game, playing an integral part in the setup of both the Leeds Rhinos Women’s team itself following her move from Bradford in 2018.
? Lois has played a huge role in the growth of women’s rugby league, and will undoubtedly continue to do so in the future.
— Rugby Football League ? (@TheRFL) October 23, 2019
She made 18 appearances for England in total and has picked up several individual honours, including nomination for the first ever Woman of Steel, 2019 Sportswoman of the Year at the Leeds Sports Awards and the sport’s first-ever National Women’s Player Ambassador.
She has also spent much of her career working for the Leeds Rhinos Foundation as Women and Girls Development Officer, including coaching eight of this year’s Grand Final winning side either at club or school level or in the academy.
“Rugby League has shaped my life and it is all I have ever known,” she added. “I have so many wonderful memories of playing this game – winning the treble with Bradford Bulls, representing England, launching the first Women’s team for my hometown club and leading them to win their first piece of silverware in their debut season.
“I am grateful for all the opportunities Rugby League has given me and the many wonderful people I have worked with. Although this is a sad time for myself, I am very proud of all I have achieved and I hope to stay involved in the game.”