Ellen White suffered a punctured lung in 2021 while receiving acupuncture treatment, England Women’s team’s all-time record goalscorer has revealed, and the “traumatic” injury “accelerated” her decision to retire.
The 33-year-old, who announced she was bringing the curtain down on her career on Monday after helping the Lionesses win the Euros in July, suffered the injury 12 months ago, shortly after starring for Team GB with six goals in four games at the Tokyo Olympics.
White told BBC One’s Football Focus that the injury happened while she was receiving private, specialist treatment for a back spasm soon after returning from Japan, adding: “It [the acupuncture] punctured my lung which isn’t something that happens normally, obviously. 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, the nature of White’s injury was not publicly disclosed, with her final club Manchester City describing it as a “medical issue”, and White returned under three weeks later to score twice for England against North Macedonia in what was Sarina Wiegman’s first game in charge of the Lionesses last September.
“If you’d said to me two or three years ago that you’re going to retire, I would have said ‘absolutely not’,” added White, who scored 52 times in 113 senior international appearances for England.
“I had a challenging time last year. It was a lot for me to have to go through and a big reason that accelerated my want to retire.
“It wasn’t until a good two or three months later, it just hit me like a train, what actually happened and how traumatic it was. I don’t want it to happen to anybody else again, that’s my main thing.”