Rise For Alex

This weekend in the NRL was Rise For Alex round. If you are not a footy fan you may not know who Alex McKinnon is. Anways, I’ll give you the update. Alex was a promising first grade footballer with the Newcastle Knights who is only 22 and starting to make a decent career for himself when his life changed forever.

On March 24 the Knights were playing the Melbourne Storm when he ran up the ball just before halftime and got upended in a spear tackle. He didn’t get up and he hasn’t walked since after fracturing 2 vertebrae in his neck.

He is facing life in a wheelchair but is making slow progress day by day and his attitude is an inspiration to anyone who is familiar with his story.

The NRL Footy Show did an awesome interview with him, his coach and some team mates last week on how he, and them, are coping. You can see it here if you missed it. It is an emotional watch.

And the Daily Telegraph on Saturday also had a great article on Alex and his rehabilitation. You can read that here.

Anyways, there’s 2 reasons why I wanted to write about this today.

1) The Rise For Alex round was a fundraising round dedicated to raising money for his recovery and future. Obviously, he will not be able to play footy again and has had his career stopped in its tracks. He will also need a lifetime of rehab and modifications made to his home and transport etc. The beauty of this round was that it showed everyone – even the strongest of rivals – pulling together for one cause.

2) The attitude and dedication to his recovery is a point in it’s own. Alex has to be without doubt one of the most driven people I have read about. Taking the same mentality he had for his football and training, he has put that into his recovery.

As a result, from an early prognosis of life as a quadriplegic, Saturdays Tele mentioned how he was starting to get feeling coming back in certain parts of his body. TV footage yesterday showed him freely moving his arms and shoulders around which he wasn’t able to do only a month or two ago. The article also mentioned:

“I’ve got stuff coming back,” he says. “My adductors in my thighs, in my hamstrings. Not in my quads, but my abs are coming back. It’s all coming back in dribs and drabs.” As the swelling in his broken neck goes down his nerves want to fire again. Muscles want to work. 

“I’m trying my arse off to try and move them and I can feel the muscle wants to move,” he says. “And I’m asking the physio ‘Is this moving? Is this moving?’ and he’s saying ‘Yes there’s a little bit of movement there’. “When such a big thing happens, you cling on to the little things.”

Things are starting to change and it is through his attitude above all – and willingness to walk his now fiancé down the aisle.

Everyone that knows him says that they have no doubt he will and you can tell just from the interviews that he is such a positive guy. Like he said in The Footy Show story, he believes that “God gives his toughest challenges to his toughest soldiers”.

And, as you may have seen previously on my blog – the John Maclean story (one of my all-time heroes). If he can walk, then Alex certainly can.

They are both made from the same stuff.




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