Former Wallabies centre Rob Horne says he is still coming to terms with having a paralysed arm after a tackle ended his career while playing in the UK three months ago.
The 28-year-old says he has full paralysis of his right arm and is in chronic pain after detaching nerves from his spinal cord.
The father of two was playing for his English club Northampton against Leicester when the injury occurred.
The clubs announced this week they will play a match at Twickenham in October to help Horne with the costs of his ongoing rehabilitation.
Horne said he didn’t believe the injury was serious when it first happened.
“I was pretty adamant, ‘Get off me, let me get up, I’m fine’,” he said in an interview on the Northampton Saints website.
“Then (Saints head of medical) Matt Lee, who was securing my head and neck said ‘Rob, you haven’t moved your legs yet’.
“And that’s when I went ‘Oh, I haven’t’. And then I was just kicking and kicking and got my right leg moving.”
He was later diagnosed with an avulsion of his brachial plexus – the same injury that ended the career of former Wests Tigers NRL prop Simon Dwyer in 2011.
Horne – who played 34 Tests for Australia including two World Cups and was part of the 2014 Super Rugby title-winning Waratahs team – said he was re-setting his future but felt positive about the outlook.
“I am still very much myself, obviously I’ve had a life-changing injury,” he said.
You make plans in life and then things happen and you reset and you go again.
“I am still working through what I have to do but I’m certainly going to embrace what’s ahead and new challenges and new opportunities that I suppose would never come into my thinking prior to this.
“It’s still very early days but I am getting there.”
Northampton chairman John White said the club had been inundated with requests from supporters wanting to help the popular Horne.
“The outpouring of support for Rob at the end of last season from the whole rugby community in the East Midlands was overwhelming – and we wanted to act,” White said.
“The club received countless requests from both Saints and Tigers supporters for a fitting way in which they could both bid farewell to Rob and also support him.”