A footballer who fought back from brain surgery has spoken of her pride after being honoured by Liverpool Ladies FC for her bravery.
Liverpool Ladies’ goalkeeper Danielle Gibbons received a special recognition award after returning to football from having a brain tumour removed.
Gibbons was awarded the accolade at the club’s annual player of the year awards, which was hosted at Anfield.
She told JMU Journalism: “To receive any award is always a massive achievement, but this one was particularly special to me after the rollercoaster year that I’ve had, and it highlights all of the hard work that not only myself but the medical staff at the club have put in to help me get back on the pitch.”
Danielle was diagnosed with a non-cancerous tumour in 2014 and she missed five months of the season. The surgery to remove it left her deaf in one ear.
The 23-year-old told JMU Journalism how she reacted to news that she needed surgery: “It was obviously a big shock when I was told I had a brain tumour, it’s one of those things where you think it won’t happen to me.
“At the same time I knew that something wasn’t right with my body, so to hear that there was an explanation for all of my symptoms was a bit of a relief.”
Gibbons returned to action in October against Bristol Academy, wearing a protective helmet. She has recently started playing without the helmet in the hope of moving on from her medical scare.
The Reds’ goalkeeper spoke about the overwhelming support she received from the other players in her team, saying: “Since I’ve been a player at Liverpool, the squad has always been close. It’s something that has got us through bad periods and one of the main reasons why we won the league two years in a row.
“I always knew that when the time came to tell them about my tumour that they would support me, and that’s exactly what they did.
“There was never a point in the process where it felt like they didn’t have my back, both before and during my operation. It has made the whole journey easier being part of the squad.”
Gibbons says she feels like she has developed as a person and a player and is looking forward to enhancing her skills as she goes forward in her career.