Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

16.50 26 Mar 2020


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Dublin senior footballer Siobhán Killeen is urging people to abide by expert advice in the fight against the coronavirus after testing positive herself.

Killeen first experienced symptoms last Sunday evening and was tested on Monday before receiving her result on Tuesday.

She is now self-isolating at home but reports that she’s doing well and is anxious to return to work when she’s given clearance to do so.

"I’m doing fine. I took a turn on Sunday evening, I got the sweats in the sitting room after working that morning, and a really bad headache," said Killeen.

"Up until that point, I was really well, really busy in work but quite active as well.

"I went for a run on the previous Friday, had a training session on my own on the Saturday, and a cycle after work on Sunday morning.

"I felt good, it wasn’t like my energy levels were low. On Sunday evening, I took a turn for the worse, and became unwell.

"That lasted all through the night, aches in my legs that travelled to my back.

"I never really got respiratory symptoms, I didn’t have difficulty breathing, a sore throat or cough.

"It was the sweats and headache and while, looking back, I may have coughed once or twice over the weekend, it was nothing out of the ordinary."

Killeen is a former Republic of Ireland soccer international who also scored a remarkable individual tally of 5-4 for Clontarf in the 2018 All-Ireland Intermediate club final.

The 27-year-old works as a radiographer at Dublin’s Mater Hospital.

She rang into work on Monday morning, was swabbed, and the results on Tuesday revealed that she was positive for coronavirus.

"I’m not an infectious disease expert, I’m just listening to what I’m told," Killeen added.

"I’m working in a hospital and taking the advice of experts, and following suit.

"We will get through it, once we all play our part, and everyone has such a big role to play.

"We need to obey the regulations that are being put in place."

In her role as a radiographer, Killeen was playing a key role as the health system and the general population battles Covid-19.

"Radiography is about diagnostics and we’d be very much in the front line in terms of diagnosing illnesses.

"One of them is Covid-19 and we were well prepared in terms of information, education, supplies.

"We always had the correct PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and we were constantly being updated on what is a new enough illness, with information changing constantly.

"I wouldn’t have considered myself vulnerable but the stats are that 25 per cent of cases are healthcare workers and I was just maybe around it more often.

"I’m self-isolating for two weeks from when I first showed symptoms but I’m not thinking too much about that, especially when you’re 24 hours in a room.

"I’m taking it day by day and I’m quite well. I’m Covid-19 positive but I feel healthy and well and the hospital have been great.

"I’ve had infectious team doctors, occupational health and the HSE in touch to check on how I am.

"And a pulse oximeter checks my oxygen levels and my pulse, feeding electronically into an app on my phone and they can check that remotely, to see how I am over a long period."

Killeen has also spoken of a great camaraderie among medical staff but she is also very frustrated by what she has seen going on outside of the hospitals.

"It’s a real fight (for the country) and people have realised the seriousness of it," Killeen said.

“It does seem to have brought the country together in some way and in the hospital, there’s a real atmosphere of doing it together and fighting it together.

"I quickly had to distance myself from everyone and not to put those I love at risk.

"It’s very frustrating when I see people out, groups of young kids on social media out together, the videos we’ve seen online.

"I’m stuck in my room feeling very guilty because when I first got diagnosed, the guilt I had was that I couldn’t go to work.

"I’m a risk to vulnerable people and then you see people not paying any regard to the fight you’re in. It’s very frustrating."

This isn’t the first battle that Killeen, a lethal forward for club and county, has had to face in recent times.

An innocuous training ground twist in April 2019 saw her sustain a hamstring injury so severe that it was ripped from her hip.

For 20 weeks after sustaining the career-threatening setback, Killeen was reliant on crutches, with her right leg in a DonJoy brace for 12 weeks, 24 hours a day.

"I had surgery to reattach it (hamstring)," Killeen explains.

"It was done by a brilliant surgeon, Denis Collins in Santry. He warned me that the surgery was the easy part – and the rehab would be the tough part.

"I remember when I got the result of the injury, it felt like my world was crashing down.

"That might sound dramatic but football and sport was everything to me.

"But through it all, I had an unbelievable support system and the Dublin team kept me involved, which was huge for my mental health."


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