The family of Maddy Cusack have said her “indomitable, irrepressible spirit” was broken by football from February this year, after Sheffield United agreed to a full external inquiry into her death.
Cusack, who played for Sheffield United Women and worked in the club’s marketing team, died in September aged 27. Police did not treat her death as suspicious and Chesterfield coroners have adjourned her inquest.
In an emotional tribute penned by Cusack’s mother, Deborah, it was revealed that the family had seen its request for a full external investigation granted by the club, and also detailed how her love of life had suffered since February before her death seven months later.
“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,” read a post from the Maddy Cusack Foundation.
Deborah also described Maddy’s love of football from a child, which led her to join Sheffield United as a player in 2019. She played more than 100 times for the club and was their longest-serving player.
“The saddest and most utterly heartbreaking reason why I am having to stand here and speak to you today is because of football,” she wrote.
“From February this year, the indomitable, irrepressible spirit, the spirit called Maddy, the spirit that we had so fiercely protected, was allowed to be broken.
“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. Those that didn’t know her need to know that.
“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.”
Sheffield United have not commented on Cusack’s passing when asked by Telegraph Sport. Tributes were paid to her following her death, while men’s manager Paul Heckingbottom said she was a “big part of everything” at the club.
In her mother’s post, she added that her daughter enjoyed working with Neil Redfearn, who was Sheffield United’s women’s coach from 2020 to 2022.
“Maddy later joined Eoin Doyle’s marketing team. She really enjoyed both of those jobs and working closely with all of her colleagues. Maddy flourished both on and off the pitch, under the guidance of Neil Redfearn whom she admired greatly,” the post added.