Chris Cairns continues recovery from stroke with game of backyard cricket

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 31 Dec 2021, 9:38AM

Chris Cairns continues recovery from stroke with game of backyard cricket

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 31 Dec 2021, 9:38AM

Former Black Caps all-rounder Chris Cairns is back holding a cricket bat as he continues to recover from the life-threatening injuries he suffered four months ago. 

The New Zealand cricket great shared a post on social media playing backyard cricket over the Christmas period in Canberra. 

In August Cairns collapsed in his Canberra home and was transferred to Sydney for emergency heart surgery to combat a tear in the inner layer of the body's main artery. 

He subsequently suffered a spinal stroke, resulting in leg paralysis, and is undergoing daily rehabilitation at a specialist hospital in Canberra. 

That rehab routine involves five hours of work in a gym, six days per week, as he attempts to strengthen muscles that have been effectively separated from his control for months now. 

Earlier this month Cairns was able to use a hydrotherapy pool for the first time, standing unaided in the water in an experience he described as "the most free I've ever felt". 

Cairns revealed that the extent of his injuries means he may never walk again but that his elite sport background was helping him deal with his new reality. 

"Having rehabbed during a sporting career you understand mental discipline is required," he said. "I know that some people in rehab facilities don't have that background and they struggle with motivation to get up every day. They are not seeing many gains. Having that background and single mindedness will play a role in helping me get to where I want to get to. 

"It would be quite easy to give up and accept, maybe this is it. I will try and squeeze everything I can in over the next 12-24 months. Having been in a career when bones and muscles take six weeks to repair, there is no timeline here. I may get a flicker in three months in one muscle but it may take nine months. 

"Your muscles atrophy over time and so then that takes time to build back up. It is one thing getting nerves to turn back on but then you have to build the muscle back up so you can stand and then walk. 

"I don't know if I will ever walk again and I have made my peace with that," he says. "It is now about understanding I can lead a full and enjoyable life in a wheelchair but at the same time knowing it will be different."