Stephen McPhail talks about his battle with illness

"I tried every medication. Every doctor. Everywhere. Nothing was working for me." Credit: ITV News Wales

Cardiff City midfielder Stephen McPhail has shed light on his two-year battle with the debilitating condition Sjogren’s Syndrome. The Republic of Ireland midfielder, who joined Cardiff from Barnsley in 2006 was diagnosed with the condition only months after recovering from stage 2 malt lymphoma, a form of Cancer.

Since then he’s faced a daily battle with pain and fatigue that has, at times made him consider how long he can carry on for.

I tried every medication. Every doctor. Everywhere. Nothing was working for me. It was a bit of a low point. At time I felt like going in a saying enough is enough. I can’t really deal with this any more.”

The condition affects the auto-immune system and causes an abnormal number of antibodies to be produced which, in turn, act against muscles and joints. The affects meant McPhail’s faced a daily battle to train with his Cardiff teammates, whilst also trying to face up to fact himself.

If I missed game I’d say it was because of a hamstring or because of a calf. It’s been years of lying really. “It’s not nice fronting up to people and saying you’ve got something when you’re down so I’m just glad it all sort of came out and I can deal with it and speak about it and get on with life.

During his recovery McPhail has had the full support of his club as well as from a less likely source too. Tennis Superstar Venus Williams, who also has the condition, has been in regular contact to offer her support.

I think she’s on the road to recovery. She was diagnosed a year ago I think. She’s been training and trying to build herself to get back. It would be great to see her back, she’s a legend of the game.