Maybe like me you have already got your cards
well even tho I have Im still sending a donation to this
cause So frequently is bravery attributed that its currency is pretty devalued. But then you meet someone whose strength in the face of adversity seems superhuman.
King is 6ft 4in, and 23. He is handsome and well dressed with a broad chest and dark hair.
But below his neck, his body is useless — he can’t hold a cup of tea, brush his teeth, shrug his shoulders, tell when his skin is blistering because he is sitting too close to the electric heater or that his fingernail has been ripped off by the wheelchair. He has had a tracheotomy and breathes with a ventilator, so needs 24-hour care.
On the morning of April 4, 2004, he was an A-level student who had applied to be a pilot with the RAF and who enjoyed both codes of rugby, But later that day, just 20 seconds into his first paid game for London Broncos’ academy, he went in for a tackle and broke his neck. He came out of Stoke Mandeville on Dec 17 that year. “I remember lying on the pitch immediately after and I knew exactly what I’d done,” he says. “When the paramedics arrived they said, ‘Move your toes, can you feel me touching you?’. I couldn’t feel any of it. It was terrifying. I remember saying, ‘Just let me die’.”
He was airlifted to Leeds, where he was put in an induced coma because doctors feared he might be brain damaged. He was not, but his body as he knew it had gone.
A metal frame was drilled into his skull and weights were applied to stretch his neck. Eventually a bed became free at Stoke Mandeville. “That was where it really hit home what I’d done. All my friends were planning uni and I was stuck in hospital, and my future looked really bleak. They were hard times, at night with your thoughts — why me, what have I done to deserve this?”
But he did not give up, and never again thought of ending it all. He had too much support — from parents, brothers, grandparents, friends.
“It would have been wrong for me to give up if all these people hadn’t given up on me. What sort of life would it be just to sit at home watching Jeremy Kyle? Just an existence. “I am at peace with what happened. There is no conclusion to why me? I still love rugby. When you play it you accept the risks, you like being able to throw your weight around legally.
“The fact I’m never going to have a girlfriend or go on these lads’ holidays does get to me, and the life I lead now is never one I would have chosen, but it is still a good life. I still enjoy it. I hope I’ve got a lot to give.” He spent a lot of time researching what he could do with “just a brain” and law seemed the best option. He went back to school and finished his A-levels — getting straight As. He studied law at the University of Hertfordshire, and got a first. He is in the middle of his solicitor’s training and next September starts work with Stewarts Law in London, a firm that specialises in catastrophic personal injury. In between he fits in volunteering, doing the New York marathon, skiing, and gaining a rugby coaching certificate.
A friend of his grandmother’s, a watercolour artist, taught him to paint. Hence the Christmas card laboriously created with a mouthpiece to raise money for the Rugby League Benevolent Fund, which has assisted him enormously.
Even in his dreams, he is mostly paralysed. Only sometimes will he wake from a dream where he is able bodied and have that split second of ignorance. “I am what I am now. I‘m still Matt, but I’m in a chair.”
He says he is not brave, nothing special, just gets on with it. I say this is true courage.
To buy Matt King’s Christmas cards in aid of the RFL Benevolent Fund please call 08444 777 113.
thanks to tanya aldred for this article (the telegraph)
Maybe some of you can also eh
cos we are one big rugby FAMILY
But would help
You have no obligation
No replies to this topic
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users