"You never know when it's going to be your last time to step onto the field. Injuries give you perspective. They teach you to cherish the moments that I might have taken for granted before."
These are the words of three-time World Cup winner Ali Krieger, who once thought she would never play football again.
At the age of 21, Krieger required surgery after breaking her leg playing at Penn State University.
Five months later, she was on a flight home from Florida when she fell ill.
"I didn't know it at the time, but I wasn't feeling right," she told ESPN The Magazine. "I couldn't even go to the bathroom without feeling out of breath."
Krieger knew something wasn't right and she thankfully headed straight to the doctor, where test results would reveal blood clots in her leg and lungs.
Not only that but she had suffered six small heart attacks.
The doctor informed her that if she had gone to sleep that night, there was a high probability that she would not have woken up.
Krieger was placed in critical condition and wasn't able to participate in physical activity for six months.
"When I went to the doctor they told me it was a good thing I came in, because if I would have gone to sleep that night, I probably would never have woken up." she said.
"I was 21 years old and just thinking, 'This wasn't even my fault.' I had no idea if I was even going to live through this."
13 years later, Krieger has played a key role in the USA's World Cup winning journey this summer.
The 34-year-old has made over 100 appearances for her country.
But yesterday's triumph at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais must go down as perhaps the best of her career.
The United States struggled to break down their resilient opponents in the first half, but goals from Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle sealed a historic win
Featured Image Credit: PA