Maddy Cusack's spirit 'was broken by football' says mum in moving speech as Sheffield United agree to enquiry
The mum of Maddy Cusack says her daughter's "irrepressible spirit" was "broken by football" - while confirming Sheffield United has agreed to an external investigation over her death. The Blades vice-captain died at her home in Derbyshire on September 20, leaving family, friends, fellow players and the wider Sheffield United community devastated. She was 27.
At the time, police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding her death. However, last night a heart-breaking speech by her mum Deborah was published by charity The Maddy Cusack Foundation - saying Maddy was "broken" by football in the months leading up to her death.
It also announced how SUFC has agreed to conduct an enquiry into the circumstances into Maddy's passing.
'Your biggest fan'
"The saddest and most utterly heartbreaking reason why I am having to stand here and speak to you today is because of football," Deborah said, at an event on October 27 to mark the day before what would have been Maddy's 28th birthday.
"From February this year, the indomitable, irrepressible spirit, the spirit called Maddy, the spirit that I had so fearlessly protected was allowed to be broken. Taking her away from me."
The post by the Maddy Cusack Foundation, a charity set up in the vice-captain's name to support girls to find a love for football, added: "Those who knew Maddy well will be aware that she had no long standing mental health issues or troubles. Not that there would be anything to be ashamed of if there were, but there were not.
"Maddy was a happy-go-lucky, carefree girl with everything to live for and by last Christmas could be described as being at her happiest. This all changed gradually from February this year. It is no secret, nor should it be, that Sheffield United Football Club have agreed at the request of Maddy’s family to carry out a thorough external investigation into the events that her family believe contributed significantly to her passing at the tender age of 27."
Deborah's speech on Oct 27 shared how she watched every game with pride "never missed a thing" as Maddy grew up.
"From an early age, Maddy displayed a unique spirit, an indomitable spirit. She was dedicated, driven and single minded in all that she did. Our life without Madicat is unthinkable, unimaginable and unbearable. We shall look for her in every single day, for the rest of our lives.
"I stand here before you today beyond proud of everything she achieved, achieving more in 27 years than more people do in a lifetime. The love shared is beyond precious. I am very grateful to have been her mum."
Maddy Cusack was vice-captain of the Blades and the side's longest serving player, as well as their first to reach 100 appearances for the women's team. An inquest opened in October at Derby Coroner's Court heard a cause of death at the time had yet to be identified.