Text us your news! Start your message Warrington News and send any photos or videos to 80360
Lymm rugby player learns to walk again
8:07am Thursday 5th July 2012 in News
A RUGBY player is learning to walk again after shattering his neck in a head to head clash on the pitch.
Alex Bennett has spent the last four months in hospital after the accident that left him unable to move or speak.
The dad-of-three was in a critical condition in intensive care for three weeks following the accident during Lymm RUFC’s game away to Sandals RFC in Wakefield on February 26. He said: “I remember absolutely everything.
“The actual moment the ball went into the air I knew I was going to get clobbered, it was one of those kicks.
“One of their guys hit his head on my head and knocked himself out. And another of their guys tackled me in the air too.
“My head went back like a real severe whiplash. Because I couldn’t feel anything below my neck, or at all basically, I thought I’d snapped my spinal chord.”
Alex – known as Bosh – then spent a week on a life support machine, surrounded by family at Pinderfield Hospital, Wakefield, where they were warned he may be left paralysed.
Numerous operations on his fractured spine followed before a transfer to the spinal unit at Southport Hospital, where he remains today.
The 37-year-old has now progressed from being unable to move below his shoulders to walking on crutches and feeding himself.
He is determined to walk independently again although doctors are not yet able to confirm that will happen.
ALEX Bennett has described the ‘darkest moments’ of his life as he lay in intensive care with a broken neck unable to reassure his family who thought he was paralysed.
The 37-year-old former England A international was on life support after a horror on-pitch collision.
He could not move or talk with loved ones at his bedside.
“I woke up not being able to breathe, not being able to speak. I was in a really bad place,” he said.
“Mum and dad and my wife were there and to see your nearest and dearest next to you and not be able to speak to them, to know it’s all out of your control, it really was the darkest moment of my life.”
A seven hour operation at Leeds General Hospital followed a month later before Alex was moved to a high dependency unit, breathing through a ventilator.
He missed son Tommy’s third birthday as he remained in a critical condition.
“That was heartbreaking,” said the father-of-three.
Wife Antonia was warned he may never walk again.
She said: “They are just words you don’t want to hear.
“He was really calm and said this could be it, I have to deal with it but I might be like this forever.”
But Alex began to show signs of progress.
A projected six months on a ventilator became five weeks and the former Saracens centre began to recover movement in his arms and toes.
Tommy and twins William and Elizabeth, both aged five, were then able to see their Dad for the first time since the accident in the spinal unit of Southport Hospital.
“I didn’t want them to see me with tubes in because it would have frightened them to death,” he said.
“When I did it was amazing.
“Tommy jumped on me and started kissing me and was gorgeous.
“Lizzy was so pleased and wanted to know what this chair was her daddy was sitting in.
“William wanted to know what was wrong. The first five minutes were very difficult because he didn’t want to come near me.
“One minute I was a man mountain to the boy and then I’m in this weak position.
“But then he started pressing my tracheotomy scars.”
Following months of intensive physiotherapy and specialist gym work, the executive recruitment consultant is now able to walk on one crutch.
He returns to the family home on Millbank, Lymm at weekends but does not yet know if he will ever fully recover.
Alex said: “You think of other people in worse positions.
“I’ll always be able to see my children, and touch them.
“I can hold a football, kick a ball and know one day I’ll be able to walk my daughter down the aisle.
“Really, I feel very lucky.”