Rugby player reveals fears he would never walk again
CASUARINA Barbarians captain Henry Brads had no idea what he was in for when his team travelled south to face the Grafton Redmen in a Far North Coast clash on Saturday.
"At the time I heard a massive crack and lost all feeling in my legs and arms," Brads said after an awkward tackle led to a fractured vertebrae at Hay Street Fields in South Grafton.
"The first thought in my head was 'what am I going to tell my wife?'
"I was really worried at first. I thought 'how am I going to cope in the future?' After about five or 10 minutes I could move my fingers and toes but I was having trouble breathing and that's when I thought I was really in trouble.
"The thought of missing the team bus trip back home also crossed my mind. Being involved with rugby, it's one of the things you enjoy the most."
Just 20 minutes into his first game as club captain, Brads said he was "a bit unfortunate" to have received the injury so early on, but the damage done could have been far worse.
"By the time I got to hospital I'd been given medication and a CAT scan. I was really relieved to find out there was no damage to my spinal cord," he said.
"I used to work with the Queensland Reds as a development officer and we would do a lot of education around serious incidents including spinal injuries so I know how severe it could have been."
Brads was diagnosed with an L1 fracture to his vertebrae and is likely to make a full recover in as soon as three months time.
"I'll be in a back brace for two months and it should only be around three months of recovery," he said.
While there was little that could have been done to prevent the horrific incident, Brads was thankful for the players and members at the Redmen for their rapid response.
"Reflecting back on it all, I can't thank club in Grafton enough for their quick response. They really helped the situation. People came onto field to support neck and to keep me talking," he said.
Brads is unsure if he will make a return to playing rugby again, but said he was happy to help out in other ways.
"Whether I play again I don't know. It's a difficult one because as much as you enjoy the game, it's puts everything into perspective. I can always help the club by doing some coaching or taking up another role," he said.