Female referee's brush with death: Ella Squires' harrowing ordeal

In August last year, 19-year-old referee Ella Squires faced a life-threatening ordeal while officiating at the Norway Cup in Oslo. A football struck her abdomen with brutal force from less than 10 yards away. Initially, the Milton Keynes native shrugged off the intense pain, thinking she was merely winded, but the reality was far more serious.

Despite her best efforts to push through, the seasoned referee of three years couldn’t finish the match and was taken to the medical tent. There, she was told she might have fractured a rib or just been badly winded. “I thought I’d just been winded, but the pain wasn’t going away. It felt like I couldn’t breathe,” Squires recalled. She was advised to rest and assured she’d be alright.

Back at her lodging, Squires’ condition worsened rapidly. She experienced dizzy spells and intense, unrelenting pain that made even sitting up nearly impossible. Her father rushed her to the hospital, where doctors discovered a grade-3 splenic injury, requiring immediate surgery to treat her ruptured spleen. Squires underwent life-saving surgery and received three blood transfusions.

At the time, I wasn’t really with it. It was only after, when I had to have three blood transfusions, that they said to me ‘if you had left it only another hour, you wouldn’t be here’. That’s when I realized I was close to death,” she revealed. This revelation left her in shock and deep gratitude for her survival.

A grateful heart: Ella Squires’ journey to recovery

After five nights in the hospital, Squires’ condition stabilized, and she was discharged, though it took three months before she could return to refereeing. Reflecting on the harrowing experience, she said, “I look back and think I can’t believe it happened. I’m so thankful. I believe everything happened for a reason. It made me so much more grateful for life and take each day as it comes.

In a heartfelt gesture, Squires’ father is preparing for a charity cycle ride from London to Oslo, raising funds for the hospital that saved his daughter’s life. This journey will not only honor the institution but also highlight the resilience and strength of Ella Squires, who emerged from a near-death experience with a renewed appreciation for life.

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