Ellen White has revealed how suffering a punctured lung was a “big reason” for her decision to retire from football.
The 33-year-old England and Manchester City striker, who confirmed the end of her career on Tuesday, endured the “traumatic” experience last year while receiving acupuncture treatment.
White had suffered back spasms after returning from the Tokyo Olympics and Manchester City arranged for her to meet an elite sports physiotherapist to provide her with acupuncture last August.
During treatment White suffered a “rare occurrence” and her lung was punctured.
She returned in early September, but White told BBC Sport how it contributed to her decision to retire.
“If you’d said to me two or three years ago that you’re going to retire, I would have said ‘absolutely not’, but I’ve got to a time in my career,” she said.
“I had a challenging time last year – coming back from the Olympics, I basically punctured my lung, and it was a lot for me to have to go through and a big reason that accelerated my want to retire.”
Fine needles are inserted at certain points in the body to stimulate nerves during acupuncture.
“It punctured my lung which isn’t something that happens normally, obviously,” she said.
“It was a really traumatic time for me and something that I’m still figuring out now, still working through.
“I had to wait for the lung to basically inflate again. I had a needle put into my chest to drag all the air out then hopefully the lung would inflate again – which it has.
“At the time, I think for me, I just got into a zone of: ‘I need to get back playing. We’ve got these games – I want to be back playing for my club; I want to be back playing for England.””
White helped England triumph at this summer’s European Championships, but knew beforehand that she was playing her final few games.
She played a key role in the tournament, starting every match and twice scoring to take her final record for her country to 52 goals with 113 caps.
White represented England at three Euros and also in three World Cups, scoring six goals at the 2019 tournament.
Manchester City were made aware of White’s intentions earlier this month.
“It’s important for me now to tell my story, and say it was a big factor in my year and leading up to the decision of wanting to retire. Obviously there are other factors that come into that as well.
“I don’t want it to happen to anybody else again is my main thing. I don’t want to walk away from the sport having not told it and not say that I want things in place for it not to happen to anyone else .”