A crowdfunding page has been set up to help pay for the treatment of a young Leeds Rhinos rugby star who broke her back on the pitch.
Leah Birkin, 22, suffered a serious fracture while playing rugby union for the Yorkshire ladies' side and is currently being treated in Leeds General Infirmary, where she has undergone major surgery.
The rising star has made a name for herself in both codes of the game - she plays rugby league for the Rhinos ladies' squad and union for both Harrogate RUFC and Leeds Beckett University, where she captains the side.
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Nearly £2,500 has been raised to pay for the months of rehabilitation and physiotherapy treatment that Leah, from Harrogate, is expected to require.
A Justgiving page was set up by her friend Lucy Barnett:
“Leah Birkin is a muchloved player at Harrogate Ladies. Sadly last week whilst playing county rugby for Yorkshire she suffered a terrible injury resulting in a broken back.
“Once she starts on the road to recovery she will need specialist physiotherapy for many weeks which is very expensive and we would really like to help with the cost to provide the best care for her future.
“I have received so many messages of support for Leah and those closest to her for which they are very grateful. We hope now that the rugby community will pull together and show how much we care when one of our own suffers a serious injury.”
Messages left on the fundraising page paid tribute to the player.
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One donor said: “Keep strong! You are so talented and a strong woman! You help others so much so it’s good others are helping you.”
Another added: “Leah sounds like such an inspirational character and has no doubt got many people to love rugby through her passion for it. I hope Leah gets all this inspiration shone back at her to support her recovery.”
To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lucy-barnett-1