It’s interesting how experience and life events change perspective. Twelve months ago I would’ve said Rugby League is a big boy’s game, with big boys rules ..no tears, suck it up Alex. I would have thought McKinnon knew what he was getting into and accepted the risks. He should take it on the chin. However, he is now confined to a wheelchair and probably will be for life, not because of an accident, but because the game he played did not enforce its own rules. He may never walk again. He will certainly never play rugby league again and probably will not experience the joys of other sports such as skiing. I spent three months in a wheelchair earlier this year and now have some feeling for what he is experiencing. No amount of money can alleviate the daily horror that he will face …. that he will live in that chair for the rest of his life. I did for only three months. I cooked my meals and ate in a wheelchair, showered, tried to do the housework, and got dressed in a wheelchair. It was the last thing I saw at night and the first thing I saw when I woke up in the morning. I went on excursions with friends who walked while I was seated. I was rained on, caught in a snowstorm and almost killed at the level crossing opposite my house. All while I was in a wheelchair. I developed calluses on my hands from the daily journey going to Manly and back. This profoundly changed my appreciation of people who are disabled. Anyone who has spent any time in a wheelchair could sympathise with Alex McKinnon’s case with the NRL. The telling fact for me is that if McKinnon was offered $10 million or the chance to get up out of his wheelchair and live a normal life again, I know what he would take.
Long, deep, night’s sleep. Must’ve been tired. Up at 6 AM to be greeted by a rainy, grey morning. Down to Balmoral for the Saturday swim. First time for a fortnight. I was assured that the water had cleaned up since the storms. It hadn’t. It stank. Putrid. There has also been a pile of Jimbals there during the week and everyone had been getting stung. I had a good handicap 7.5 minutes and pushed as hard as I could, for the entire race. First time in five months. Came in 10th but it felt a bit weird. Didn’t have the solid, thumping heartbeats that I usually have when sprinting. It was more like a flutter. This is probably caused by blood thinners. I’ll be so glad when I can stop them. I see the vascular surgeon on Monday. Papers are full of former Newcastle Knights’ player, Alex McKinnon’s apparent intention to sue the Melbourne Storm Rugby league club and the National Rugby League, over his broken neck.