To sign for Chelsea at 18 years old would mean a lot to most young footballers, but when Brooke Aspin put pen to paper on a four-year deal with the Blues last July, it would have meant even more. After all, the opportunity came less than 12 months after she had found herself in intensive care, battling for her life.
In the summer of 2022, Aspin was struggling with a groin injury which soon turned into an inability to walk. Her mother took her to the hospital, where multiple tests and scans diagnosed her with a bone infection, a blood clot and sepsis, a life-threatening illness which kills 42 percent of those who are admitted to intensive care with it.
Aspin spent over three weeks in hospital, a week of that in intensive care, and would eventually have surgery on her groin injury once her body had strengthened after the sepsis. She was out for six months, finally making her comeback for Bristol City in March of last year as she set about helping the Robins get over the line in their successful bid for the Women’s Championship title and promotion to the Women’s Super League.
Less than four months later, Chelsea came along to snap up one of England’s most exciting young prospects in a deal that would send her back to Bristol on loan for the 2023-24 season. It was quite a way to cap off an incredibly difficult year in Aspin’s young life, one that she admits has made her more grateful and appreciative in turn.
But while she is eager to raise awareness about sepsis, an illness she knew little about before it struck her down, Aspin is also keen not to dwell on that tough period and to instead look forward. That’s because, on the football pitch, she has big ambitions, and she has the talent to realise them, too.