Walking 'the tip of the iceberg' for Fatialofa after spinal injury

Michael Fatialofa (Getty Images)
Michael Fatialofa (Getty Images)

Worcester lock Michael Fatialofa says his ability to walk again is "just the tip of the iceberg" as he battles back from a horrific spinal injury suffered in an English Premiership match.

Register your interest for the British & Irish Lions tickets in South Africa 2021

The New Zealander had surgery following the injury in a game against reigning champions Saracens in January and spent more than two weeks in intensive care.

Fatialofa has spent the past three months having treatment but is now able to walk unaided.

"Walking is the tip of the iceberg with these types of injuries," the 28-year-old Auckland-born second row told New Zealand's 1 NEWS website.

"My hands are probably the hardest thing for me - getting my hands functioning. My left hand pretty much does nothing.

"From my neck down, I couldn't feel anything or move anything."

"It was pretty scary, and I was really short of breath because, what I did, was the spinal cord was compressed and anything below the spinal cord is affected and that includes my lungs and I was just kinda trying to breathe," he explained.

Fatialofa, who helped New Zealand's Hurricanes win the 2016 Super Rugby title, said of his time in intensive care: "My room-mates were victims of gun violence and stabbings... It's a time that's tough to think about. I heard some people die next to me. It was quite traumatising."

A few weeks ago Fatialofa's wife, Tatiana, posted an Instagram video of her husband walking.

"You're witnessing a miracle that even medical professionals can't explain," she wrote.

But the coronavirus pandemic means she cannot visit her husband at the moment.

Fatialofa's contract with Worcester ends in July. He plans to complete his recovery in Britain before returning to New Zealand.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
loading... Live
Australia 369/10
India 336/10
loading... Live
Sri Lanka 135/10 & 242/4
England 421/10
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
41% - 11290 votes
12% - 3229 votes
19% - 5076 votes
2% - 672 votes
1% - 268 votes
2% - 635 votes
5% - 1391 votes
8% - 2308 votes
3% - 910 votes
Water sports
1% - 243 votes
American sports
1% - 327 votes
3% - 885 votes