Danielle Broadhurst is now in her sixth season with Cardiff City FC Women and returned to playing football at the beginning of the 2018/19 campaign following the birth of her son Harvey.
The midfielder discussed the highs & lows while being with the Bluebirds to date, from playing Champions League football in 2013, injuring her ACL in 2015 and giving birth in 2018.
“I joined Cardiff City in 2012,” began Danielle. “We won the league that season, so we got to play Champions League football the following campaign, which was a great achievement for us all. In 2015, I injured my anterior cruciate ligament and it took me quite a long time to come back from that injury, in terms of strengthening my leg and fitness, but I had a lot of help from the Club.
“Then I became pregnant in 2017 and finally told the Club after 16 weeks because I didn’t want to stop playing, but I was slowing down a lot which was tough. As soon as they heard, I was forced to stop playing for health and safety reasons and I gave birth to Harvey in April 2018.
“It took me around three months to get some fitness back and I’d been doing individual training, to make sure that I returned for pre-season. I trained for about a month with the team before playing my first match, in which I competed for around 20 minutes.
“Juggling parenthood and playing football was really difficult at the start, but also enjoyable because I was getting fitter again. I had a difficult birth, so was going through pains, although I managed to push through the difficulties to return to full fitness and play for the Club I love again.
“Everyone was really supportive and I’d just like to thank Cardiff City for helping me through. I think I’m getting back to where I used to be and just want to keep pushing on now.”
Manager Joel Hutton made the decision to halt Danielle from playing while she was pregnant and he spoke about his reasoning, supporting her and her return to football, saying: “Danielle told us when she was 16 weeks pregnant and I said that she couldn’t play for safety reasons. She wasn’t particularly happy with that at the time and we were struggling with injuries, so I think she felt a little bit guilty.
“From a Club and personal perspective, Danielle didn’t need the additional pressure of playing football while being pregnant and we just wanted to make sure that we supported her as much as possible. We wanted to ensure that she didn’t feel guilty for leaving and she never really went anywhere: she just wasn’t involved in the matchday squad.
“After giving birth to Harvey, Danielle put in an awful lot of individual work to ensure that she came back fitter and stronger. During pre-season, she began with a certain level of fitness, but we made sure that we eased her in slowly and liaised with our physio, medical team and strength and conditioning coach.
“She had a bit of a staggered start, especially when the games programme started in pre-season and we built her up to getting 90 minutes in before the first game of the season. I was quite surprised that Danielle came back as quickly as she did and she’s been with us since 2012, but it’s probably the best condition that I’ve seen her in.”
.@DanielleBroad15: "I had a difficult birth, although I managed to push through to return to full fitness and play for the Club I love again." 💙— Cardiff City FC Women (@CardiffCityFCW) January 30, 2019
Our thanks to @theWPWL & @thinkorchard for this wonderful feature👉 https://t.co/aIkKtiAjAA#CityAsOne pic.twitter.com/eNpDwRd31J
He concluded: “She’s a really important player for us and has played the fourth most game minutes out of the whole squad of 19 players. That just illustrates the commitment and dedication that she’s demonstrated since coming back from giving birth and that’s brilliant for us.”