Doncaster footballer, 20, forced to quit game after being diagnosed with debilitating disease

A risingfootball star has been forced to give up the game aged just 20 '“ after being disgnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Doncaster Rovers Belles player Ashleigh Mills has ended her playing career after discovering she has the debilitating disease.

The former England Under-19 international made four appearances for Belles last season as they were promoted from Women’s Super League Two.

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She only celebrated her 20th birthday this month but the former Balby Carr School pupil announced her illness on her Twitter account.

She said: “I can’t believe I am writing this but I have had to end my contract with Doncaster Rovers Belles and football career due to being recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

“I have tried so hard to get back but my legs just won’t go. Unfortunately this disease cannot be beaten and has took away my dream.

“Thanks to my family and friends who have supported me.”

She expressed her thanks for the messages of support she had received.

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Ashleigh hit the headlines two years ago when she won the Doncaster Free Press Sports Awards Junior Sports Personality of the Year Award.

After making her first team debut aged just 16, she earned a call-up to England Under-19s’ training camp.

She also scored five goals in three games to help her Doncaster school reach the Premier Cup final.

Doncaster Belles manager Glen Harris said: “It is sad that a young player with the talent Ash has, has had to stop playing at the top level.

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“Ash has been a pleasure to work with, always turning up and training with a smile on her face – even if it’s not always in the right kit!

“All at Belles wish Ash the very best in the future. Once a Belle, always a Belle.”

Multiple Sclerosis can cause a wide range of symptoms and can affect any part of the body.

Each person with the condition is affected differently.

The NHS says symptoms are unpredictable. Some people’s symptoms develop and worsen steadily over time, while for others they come and go.

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Some of the most common symptoms include fatigue, vision problems and mobility problems.

On Facebook, Doncaster woman Laura Louise Kilgour was among those offering her best wishes.

She said: “Horrible disease. I struggle daily with MS or the invisible illness as it’s known. All the best to her.”