'Witnessing a miracle': Player with serious spinal injury's shock recovery

Riley Morgan
Sports Reporter

Injured rugby player Michael Fatialofa provided a bit of good news amid the coronavirus gloom when a video on Saturday showed the Worcester lock walking unaided 11 weeks after he suffered a serious neck injury.

New Zealand-born Fatialofa was shown walking in a video posted by his wife Tatiana and sister on Instagram, as they both praised his incredible recovery during dark times around the world.

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“You’re witnessing a miracle that even medical professionals can’t explain,” she wrote. “They are so (shocked) by his progress given his critical level of injury.”

Fatialofa, 27, suffered the injury while playing against Saracens on Jan 4, less than a minute after coming onto the field in the second half. He has been in hospital since.

“He was literally paralysed from the neck down just 10 weeks ago and currently spinal cord injuries do not have a clinical cure, but my amazing husband is proof that god is never limited to human wisdom. So so so thankful,” his wife added.

Fatialofa had surgery for a spinal contusion, which causes compression on the spinal cord and can lead to paralysis.

His wife said her visits to the hospital will become more difficult because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Michael Fatialofa suffered a horrible injury to his neck, but has somehow stunned doctors after taking his first steps 11-weeks later. (Images: Getty Images/Instagram)

“We’ve been advised by the hospital that visiting probably will be reduced to only one hour soon and while I understand completely it’s still so hard on the heart,” she said.

She added in a recent post: “The reality for us is national isolation and tight restrictions on hospital visitation (family/spouse only) with the possibility of full suspension.”

In a different post, she said they have had to cancel their plans to travel home to visit his parents, during the worldwide pandemic.

“While our nation is in crisis, with the virus literally in the town we’re currently located, we can’t risk already vulnerable patients like Mike so we are staying put and prayed up. We feel sad not to see his parents next month as planned or have the choice to travel home to New Zealand,” she wrote.

Worcester were going to use their home match against Harlequins on April 11 as a fundraiser for Fatialofa but that game will no longer go ahead as the Premiership is suspended until April 14 at least.

With Retuers