A South Australian footballer who suffered a spinal injury in a tackle gone wrong feared he would be wheelchair-bound when he woke up without feeling in his legs.
Craig Wilson, 22, feared the worst after he collapsed on the footy field on Saturday.
It was déjà vu for the father-of-one who had only just returned to playing after a previous injury left him in a wheelchair.
“All I remember was just tackling the bloke and waking up on the ground and I had no sensation in my legs or my arms,” he told 7 News.
Mr Wilson was airlifted from Two Wells Oval, north of Adelaide, to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, where he had an anxious wait.
The footballer and his family feared a repeat of the shocking injury four years ago which left him in a wheelchair for eight months.
“I didn’t really want to come to terms with not being able to walk again, like last time,” he said.
His brother, Dylan O’Leary Wilson, said: “All of the thoughts came flooding back because when that happened I was there a lot. I was pushing him around in the wheelchair.”
But Mr Wilson regained feeling in his legs and is expected to make a full recovery.
His relieved mum, Kathryn, called her son’s progress this time around “unbelievable”.
“I end up with my heart in my throat every time [he went to hospital]. And they send him home and he can feel his legs.”
With a two-year-old daughter Amahlia and another baby on the way, Mr Wilson and fiancee Jaymee-Lee cannot afford any risks.
The club said it would not let him back on the field, saying his health is too important.
Mr Wilson agrees, regretfully it is time to hang up the boots.
“I might take up coaching or umpiring or something,” he suggested.
“But just see how it all goes, take it one step at a time.”