A Brisbane teenager is determined to beat the odds and return to competitive sport after suffering a catastrophic spinal injury at a school rugby match.
The life of 16-year-old Conor Tweedy changed forever just moments into the opening game of the Great Public Schools rugby season on July 21.
The first scrum formed, then collapsed, and while the other players got to their feet, the Year 11 St Joseph’s Gregory Terrace student did not move.
“My neck got caught awkwardly and just hyper-extended,” the teen said from his hospital bed.
“I felt something go over my body and I couldn’t move anything.”
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He was rushed to the Princess Alexandra Hospital and had undergone two separate operations by that evening.
For days Conor remained on life support, eventually mustering the strength to breathe on his own.
His legs are paralysed and he only has slight movement in his shoulders and elbows.
His father Sean, who runs a research program for athletes with disabilities, said: “It’s just something you never want to see.”
The senior lecturer at The University of Queensland is all too familiar with spinal injuries.
“So far he hasn’t missed a beat,” Sean said. “He is really doing a great job.”
Conor is expected to spend up to nine months recovering in hospital, but he’s already planning a return to the game.
“I just want to be able to move again.
“I’m young and relatively fit, so I think [the doctors] are quietly confident, and I am a bit, but I don’t want to get my hopes up,” he said.
His rehabilitation will require extensive equipment and therapy, so a trust in his name has been set up to help with the costs of recovery.