Former Newcastle Knights forward Alex McKinnon has stood for the first time since a tackle during an NRL game left him a quadriplegic March last year.
The lifting tackle on McKinnon during a game against the Melbourne Storm left him with two fractured vertebrae and devastating spinal injuries.
But the 22-year-old has been making progress bit by bit since the incident.
Just three weeks after sustaining the injury, McKinnon regained movement in his arms. Now, 10 months after, he is standing with the assistance of his fiancee Teigan Power.
Following the tragic accident, McKinnon has said he hopes to one day be able to walk Power down the aisle of their wedding.
In a statement through the Knights, McKinnon said he’s pleased with his progress and looks forward to working alongside the Newcastle team as a coaching aid.
“I am in the final stages of my current rehabilitation program on the Gold Coast,” he said.
“When aided to stand up out of my chair, I am now able to stand for a short amount of time with assistance.
“I am set to return to Newcastle in the coming weeks to commence my new role with the Knights.
“Thank you, as always, for the well wishes and encouragement.”
McKinnon is expected to start in his new position at the club on January 27.
Since his injury, the club and the NRL have provided McKinnon with generous amounts of support. The NRL doubled the league’s insurance scheme for its players from $500,000 to $1 million should they suffer a career-ending injury.
Fans have also got behind the injured player. Last July, the NRL’s #RiseforAlex fundraiser generated more than $1.4 million for his rehabilitation. Read more on that here.
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