NRL player who broke neck assured parents game is safe
AN NRL player who broke his neck in a tackle has urged parents not to be afraid to let their children play the sport.
Ben Ross, who is originally from Nambour, broke his neck while playing for Cronulla in 2009.
He felt literally sick when watching Newcastle Knights player Alex McKinnon injure his neck on March 31.
While the full extent of McKinnon's injury remains unknown, Ross was told he would never walk again when he was injured.
He not only walked but, two years and three surgeries later, he was back playing the game he loves.
"I played another three years after that, uninjured," he said.
"I gave it up because I had a little daughter I wanted to spend more time with."
Ross remains adamant that "footy didn't hurt my neck".
Is NRL a safe game to play?
This poll ended on 04 April 2014.
Yes. Always has been.
No. I don't think it ever been safe.
No, I've changed my mind following the Alex McKinnon incident.
Yes, even after what happened to Alex McKinnon. It was just a horrible accident.
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Unbeknown to him, he had been carrying an old surfing injury and his ligaments were "loose" when he went into a tackle and came out, unable to feel or move his arms.
He said McKinnon's injury was also a freak accident.
"It was more bad luck than anything else,'' he said.
"He ducked his neck the wrong way, and I had another injury."
Ross said he didn't want parents to think badly of rugby league.
"I allow my kids to play footy. They are in safe hands," he said.
"I understand, I am a parent myself."
NRL National Development Manager Steve Palin also reassured parents that the game, particularly at a child's level, was safe.
"The junior game, from six to 12 years, is also a modified game with smaller field numbers and a lot lesscontact," he said.