Glasgow on becoming a Rose after eating disorder and injury setbacks

Vicki Hodges


England goal shooter Sasha Glasgow opens up on pride at representing country after eating disorder, injury setbacks and her duel-nationality dilemma; watch Vitality Roses take on South Africa in three-match series live on Sky Sports – Game One is on Sky Sports Arena on Tuesday from 6.45pm

Last Updated: 30/11/23 11:48am

Sasha Glasgow made her England debut during the Roses' series against New Zealand in September
Sasha Glasgow made her England debut during the Roses’ series against New Zealand in September

When Sasha Glasgow stepped on court for her England debut against New Zealand in September, the emotion was etched on her face.

Only five years ago she thought her netball career was finished. Debilitating injuries saw her mental health spiral and led to an eating disorder which saw her spend a month in rehab seeking the support and guidance required to rebuild her life.

“I take a lot of pride in what I got through then and now being able to debut and become an international athlete and take it that next step further,” Glasgow told Sky Sports, who is part of the Roses’ squad who host South Africa this month in a three-match series starting with Tuesday night’s contest in Manchester.

“I think that’s why I was so emotional when I debuted. I remember sobbing in the room with the girls when I was given my dress because it was such a tough journey to get to becoming a Rose.”

Glasgow was just a teenager when she suffered the first of two long-term injuries. A stress fracture in her foot led to a lengthy layoff and when the Australian-born goal attack/goal shooter was the subject of online speculation regarding her absence, she took action.

She wanted to put the record straight and penned an open first-person piece which was published on an online media outlet in Australia to lay bare her experience of admitting an eating disorder and checking into a rehab clinic in Melbourne for help.

“It was important for me to be honest and give perspective and show that athletes are human beings,” she told Sky Sports.

“Athletes are expected to perform week-in, week-out and the pressure of that as well as mental health and the injuries that come with it – it all toppled over for me at one moment and I had to remember that at the end of the day, I’m still a person, I’m a daughter, sister and a girlfriend and those things were slipping away from me.

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England’s Fran Williams, Eleanor Cardwell and Sasha Glasgow look ahead to the three-match series against South Africa in December, with added excitement around the squad after the Netball World Cup in the summer.
England’s Fran Williams, Eleanor Cardwell and Sasha Glasgow look ahead to the three-match series against South Africa in December, with added excitement around the squad after the Netball World Cup in the summer.

“I wanted to give people perspective when they were being quite harsh online. It was a really hard time in my life. Netball saved me and brought me out of that. It was a really tough time battling injuries, wanting to perform, I wasn’t getting the results that I wanted. I wasn’t able to play, so there was so much speculation that I wanted to set the record straight and just get everything on my terms.”

When she did return to the court, she suffered an ACL injury in the penultimate round of fixtures in the summer of 2019, just six months before Covid hit and the strict lockdown imposed by the country.

“I definitely feel like I’ve built up a thick skin and a lot of resilience. I still advocate for mental health and know that not everyone will go to work and be 100 per cent and that’s OK. It’s not a taboo topic any more and I’m proud to share my experiences and be open.”

Having spent much of her life living and playing professional netball in the Suncorp Super Netball League, Glasgow was grateful for the support from the sporting fraternity including close friend and former Rose Chelsea Pitman and her family, including her three sisters and brother.

Now she is determined to use that resolve as she plots the next chapter of her career as a fully-fledged member of the England Netball programme.

Despite her dual-nationality, Glasgow nailed her colours to the Roses mast last September, qualifying through her English-born parents.

“I feel that’s where my heart’s been for the last year,” she said. “I first started having initial conversations in 2019 and then to continue them with Jess [Roses coach Jess Thirlby] I just felt more aligned with England. Obviously I’m proud to be both English and Australian but I’m really excited about my career with England and what that looks like.”

Glasgow had to be content with watching the summer World Cup – including the final which saw the Roses fall to Australia 61-45 – from afar in England with her English family.

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Watch as Australia beat England in the Netball World Cup final in South Africa.
Watch as Australia beat England in the Netball World Cup final in South Africa.

“I’ve got quite a few friends who play for the Diamonds as well and I said to them that I’d be supporting them personally – but I was definitely supporting England at the World Cup and proud of what they achieved [winning the silver medal].

“I couldn’t wait to be a part of it and look ahead to the next four years so I could potentially be standing there and going that step further.”

Glasgow has spent the last few months in England preparing for this month’s series against South Africa as she looks to seize her opportunity in attack in the absence of shooter Helen Housby who is taking an extended break. It has also given her time to catch up with her extended English family who are spread across the country having last visited pre-Covid.

And as someone who has spent most of her life among Australians beaches when she wasn’t playing sport, she admits the current cold-weather snap in England is proving hard to adjust to.

“It’s quite cool here, but I’m going to have to suck it up and get used to it!

“I’ve got my gloves and got my wellies. I’d never owned a pair of wellies before I came here and then my auntie said ‘I have a gift for you’. I had to get some new socks, I was concerned I was going to get blisters wearing them, it just felt like my feet were so big!”

Those wellies will also be put to good use when Glasgow and her boyfriend head to Canada to spend Christmas with her partner’s family – as well as some newly-purchased snow boots.

The hope first, however, is that she performs well enough this series to warrant a place in the England Quad series squad against Australia, New Zealand and Uganda in late January and hopping back on a plane to return to the UK in the new year.

England’s 14-player squad for South Africa series

Halimat Adio, Imogen Allison, Eleanor Cardwell, Amy Carter, Funmi Fadoju, Sasha Glasgow, Hannah Joseph, Berri Neil, Jayda Pechova, Razia Quashie, Ellie Rattu, Alicia Scholes, Olivia Tchine, Fran Williams

December 5: Manchester, 7pm

December 9: Nottingham, 5pm

December 10: Nottingham, 2pm

The long-haul flights do not bother Glasgow if she has a good book or two in tow, she is just grateful for the prospect of a bright and prosperous international career ahead, one she thought might never happen.

“Whenever I’m having a tough day now I think back to the 18,19, 20-year-old me and think I got through everything I had going on at the time and it gives me a lot of perspective to always put one foot in front of the other.”

You can watch England take on South Africa in their home series between December 5-10, live on Sky Sports. Stream the netball and more with NOW I Get Sky Sports

Source : Sky Sports