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Rugby player who lost leg says sport shouldn't be criticised

Grace Matthews was so badly injured by a rugby tackle she had to have her leg amputated Photo:

Grace Matthews was so badly injured by a routine rugby tackle that she needed her leg amputated.

Despite her injuries Grace, from Bletchley near Milton Keynes, says the game should be supported not criticised.

She has hit back at calls to make schools play non-contact rugby. And is urging people, especially women, to have a go.

Grace Matthews says she is trying to be positive after the injury. Credit: ITV News Anglia

After the tackle she was taken to hospital with a severely dislocated knee injury.

Once there she was told there were complications and was taken for surgery.

Damage to her arteries left doctors with no option but to remove her leg.

Click below to watch a report on Grace by ITV News Anglia's Claire McGlasson

"I went into a normal tackle ...I went down.

"I didn't feel anything happen but I just had this sudden rush of pain going down my leg and I thought 'this is serious'.

"I'm coming to terms with everything but I'm just trying to be positive."

– Grace Matthews
Friends from Bletchley Rugby Club are rallying around and raising funds. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Grace says she doesn't agree with pressure on schools to play non-contact rugby.

"My opinion on that is they expect boys to be going through school with no tackling then the day they turn 18 they'll go and play senior rugby and get tackled by a 35-year-old man.

"That's probably more dangerous. And I'd always encourage people to play. What happened to me is really unfortunate but it is a great sport."

– Grace Matthews

Her team, Bletchley Rugby Club, have rallied round to support her.

So far they have raised more than £13,000 through an online appeal.

Grace knows she won't play rugby again. Doctors say she should be walking with a prosthetic leg in three months and she is determined to find another sport and get back in the game.