Alex McKinnon’s rugby league career over after severe spinal injury

Rugby League was stunned at news that Newcastle forward Alex McKinnons career is over after suffering a severe spinal injury in a match with Melbourne on Monday 24 March 2014.

McKinnon was stretchered from the field in a neck brace after landing on his head in an awkward tackle by Melbourne forwards Jesse Bromwich, his brother Kenny and Jordan McLean.

Initial scans confirmed the dislocation of the c4 and c5 vertebrae but first the injury was thought to be limited with no damage to the spinal chord, however further scans revealed what was called ‘devastating spinal injury’.  Alex is in intensive care and has been place in an induced coma. It could take two years for him to achieve recovery.

Spinal injuries are said to be extremely rare in Rugby League and Newcastle Coach Wayne Bennet said that in more than 50 years of coaching he had never seen such an injury.