Three weeks after Portland Thorns and Matildas winger Hayley Raso broke her back in a match, she's revealed how she faced the fear she may never walk again.
Now Raso has revealed how she confronted the potentially catastrophic injury.
The 23-year-old was running towards goal when she was hit in the back by Washington Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe and instantly felt excruciating pain.
"I don’t know who was around me at the time, but I cried for ‘help’ over and over again," Raso told Professional Footballers Australia website.
"Once the medical team arrived on the field, I was asked numerous questions about where the pain was, if I could feel my leg, could I wiggle my toes?
"I couldn’t answer any of the questions. I was in shock, I was in agonizing pain, and I just knew that something really bad had happened."
Raso was stretched from the field in visible pain and carted to the locker room, where her dad came down from the stands to meet her.
Once at the hospital she was sent for CT scans and continually monitored by nurses, doctors and neurosurgeons before she was told she had fractured three lumbar vertebrae.
"I knew almost immediately that I wasn’t okay, but I don’t think I could have ever prepared myself to hear the words, ‘The bad news is, you’ve broken your back’," she said.
"My first thought was – I’ll never be able to walk again. I broke down. So many emotions came over me. All I could think about was, how am I going to live my life like this."
Her mum, who has been watching the game live in Australia, booked a flight over to the United States as soon as she heard what had happened.
Raso has had immense support from the Thorns community with coach Mark Parsons staying with her until 4am and the club's athletic trainer staying behind in Washington DC for the week following the incident.