There were fears for Chris Cairns’ life earlier this year after he suffered a life-threatening medical trauma, but the cricketer is back in the fold.
Former New Zealand off-roader Chris Cairns is back holding a cricket bat as he continues to recover from the life-threatening injuries he sustained four months ago.
The great cricket kiwi shared a post on social media taking a dip in the pool and playing backyard cricket over the Christmas period in Canberra.
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In August, Cairns collapsed at his Canberra home and was flown to Sydney for emergency heart surgery to combat a tear in the inner layer of the body’s main artery.
He subsequently suffered a stroke causing paralysis of his legs and is in daily rehab at a specialist hospital in Canberra.
That rehab routine involves five hours of working out in a gym, six days a week, while you try to strengthen muscles that have effectively been out of your control for months.
Earlier this month, Cairns was able to use a hydrotherapy pool for the first time, standing unaided in the water in an experience it described as “the freest I have ever felt.”
Cairns revealed that the extent of his injuries means that he will never walk again, but that his experience in elite sports was helping him deal with his new reality.
“Having rehabilitated during a sports career, it is understood that mental discipline is required,” he said. “I know that some people in rehab centers don’t have that experience and struggle with the motivation to get up every day. They are not seeing much profit.
“Having that experience and that determination will play an important role in helping me get to where I want to go.
“It would be easy enough to give up and accept, maybe this is it. I will try to squeeze as much as I can for the next 12 to 24 months. Having been in a race where bones and muscles take six weeks to repair, there is no timeline here. You may have a blink in three months in a muscle, but it can take nine months.
“Your muscles atrophy over time and therefore it takes time to recover. It’s one thing to get your nerves to fire again, but then you have to re-develop the muscle to be able to stand up and then walk.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever walk again and I’ve made peace with it,” he says. “Now it’s about understanding that I can lead a full and enjoyable life in a wheelchair, but at the same time knowing that it will be different.”
This story first appeared in the NZ Herald and was reproduced with permission.