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Spurs Women Captain Shelina Zadorsky opens up about health struggles

We’re all with you, Skipper!

Tottenham Hotspur Women v Leicester City Women - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Spurs Women and Canadian International defender Shelina Zadorsky has not featured in a competitive match since Canada’s February game against Japan. Earlier today, our captain opened up about the physical and mental health struggles that have kept her off the pitch.

“For the first time in my career, I reached a limit,” Shelina said, in an extended statement.

It started, more or less, with a nasty bout of Covid during Spurs’ women’s three-game week in mid-December. She then caught all the various colds, flus and bugs of mid-Winter, and a second round of Covid just after Spurs Women’s high-drama game against Manchester United.

Shelina wrote of reaching her lowest point–how, armed with several negative covid tests, she reported for Canadian international duty, even though she felt too ill to train. How she spent 81 of the 90 minutes she played against Japan at 90-100% of her max heart rate.

“What player doesn’t want to fight for their country, especially one (of many) that is battling for equality?” she asked.

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United - Barclays Women’s Super League Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

After arriving back in London sicker than ever and in a mentally very dark place, Shelina finally realized she had to seek help. On top of Covid, Shelina also discovered she had mono and Celiac’s disease. She’s now well on her way to full recovery, and getting used to her new gluten-free life (“Wait, does Nando’s do gluten free?” she asked).

Spurs Women have quite clearly been missing Shelina’s leadership in the back line. The game should not come at the expense of players’ health and wellbeing, though, so we hope Shelina takes all the time she needs to get well. In the meantime, we wish her the best and send her all the love and support we can muster.

“This message is to anyone who’s struggling: you are not alone,” Shelina said, in closing. “So take the small wins, reach out for help, and whether good or bad, this too shall pass.”