Rugby Rugby

Rugby star in ‘miracle’ recovery from spine injury

Michael Fatialofa (C) is back walking unaided weeks after undergoing spinal surgery in what his wife described as a miracle © AFP / MARTIN HUNTER

LONDON, United Kingdom, Mar 21Worcester Warriors lock Michael Fatialofa is back walking unaided just weeks after he suffered a serious spine injury in what his wife described on Saturday as a “miracle”.

The 27-year-old New Zealander underwent spinal surgery in late January after being left paralysed from the neck down following his side’s Premiership rugby union match with Saracens early that month.

The operation took place after he was diagnosed with a spinal contusion, a serious condition which causes compression on the spine.

“You’re witnessing a miracle that even medical professionals can’t explain,” wrote Fatialofa’s wife Tatiana with a video of him walking on Instagram.

“They are so shook by his progress given his critical level of injury.

“He was literally paralysed from the neck down just 10 weeks ago and currently spinal cord injuries do not have a clinical cure.”

However, the coronavirus outbreak will place restrictions on her being able to visit him as the British government has recommended social distancing and ordered pubs, restaurants and other places where the public congregate to close.

“We’ve been advised by the hospital that visiting probably will be reduced to only one hour soon and while I understand completely it’s still so hard on the heart,” she said.

Fatialofa — who was a pivotal member of the Hurricanes side that won the 2016 Super Rugby title — has been affected in another way by the coronavirus as Worcester’s home game against Harlequins on April 11 was due to act as a fundraiser, but it will not go ahead with the Premiership currently suspended until April 14.

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