Stoke City makes awkward u-turn after telling star to 'use NHS' for surgery

Stoke City makes awkward u-turn after telling star to 'use NHS' for surgery
Stoke football stadium turns into rave

Stoke City has made an awkward u-turn to now pay for one of its women's stars to have surgery after the player claimed the club told her to use the NHS.

Defender Kayleigh McDonald, 30, was seriously injured during Stoke City Ladies' 2-1 loss at Burnley in a Women's National League North clash on March 24.

She had a scan and said she had to wait two-and-a-half weeks for her injury to be explained to her by a medical professional, who told her she had ruptured her LCL (lateral collateral ligament), had a high grade three injury to her ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), ruptured her IT band, ruptured her popliteus tendon and fractured her knee.

McDonald said she was told she would have to join the NHS waiting list for surgery.

She recently set up a GoFundMe page to raise £20,000 to get the surgery she needs as she is currently 'off work, not able to walk, not earning any money but still having the burden of paying bills'.

Her story resonated with a lot of people online who have been reposting her Tweets, sharing the page and donating, with more than £10,000 raised at the time of writing.

Stoke City has since confirmed to Indy100 the club will now pay for her surgery.

On the GoFundMe page, Kayleigh said: "I have suffered more mentally than physically with this injury, especially the fact it's going to inevitably end my football career.

"This has been such a difficult time for me and something I'm really struggling with.

"I'm embarrassed to have to resort to setting up a GoFundMe in order to pay for my operation, as I have been left with no other choice. I need this operation to get back to working and earning a living.

"People know how fitness helps you mentally and at the moment I'm really struggling and it is so difficult to see the light at the end of this horrible dark tunnel.

"Without the support system I have I'd hate to think of the place I'd be at."

Kayleigh McDonald at Blackburn Rovers in 2023Paul Harding - The FA

Kayleigh signed from Championship side Blackburn Rovers in the summer of 2023, making more than 150 appearances there including winning the Women's National League play-off in 2019.

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