Mose Masoe has revealed how he is using ordinary household chores to aid his recovery from his devastating spinal injury.
The Hull KR prop suffered the career-ending injury during a pre-season match at Wakefield in January, and was told he may never walk again.
Masoe damaged two vertebrae in his spine while making an innocuous-looking tackle.
But after two months of rehab at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, Masoe recently posted a video of himself walking unaided for the first time in his kitchen.
Watched by daughters Marlowe, four, and Evie-Rose, six, the Samoan international ticked off the latest landmark on his remarkable recovery road.
And, unable to attend regular physiotherapy sessions because of the current coronavirus lockdown, he has turned to unconventional methods to continue his progress.
Masoe explained: “I’ve been using everyday things around the house as my physio.
“We have two sets of stairs in our house and our bedroom is on the top floor.
“When the Rugby League Benevolent Fund came to put a stair lift into our house they asked if I wanted one to the top floor and I said no.
“I got up on my bottom and that was using my triceps, then I could crawl up, and this week I walked up for the first time with my crutches.
“My missus has got me vacuuming the house now, and I’ve surprised myself.
“I’m using everyday jobs as my rehab, so hopefully when I can get into the specialist facilities again I can do more than I can now.”
Asked about how it felt to take five unaided steps in his kitchen, Masoe said: “It’s weird – it was like winning a Grand Final, the same kind of feeling.
“It was something that sounded impossible 16 weeks ago.
“If you’d said to me then that I’d be walking again now, I never would have thought it would come this quickly.
“I’m stoked to be up and walking and grateful for whatever I get back now, everything is a massive bonus.”
Masoe says that wife Carissa, who is expecting the couple’s son in July, has been a rock throughout his recovery.
He says the pair had one moment of real sadness, in the changing room at Wakefield immediately after the injury, but since then they have focused positively on the future.
He said: “I’ve got to get into gear now and be able to do as much to help out Carissa when he comes.
“She’s been a massive support to me, doing pretty much everything from morning till night, cooking, cleaning, getting the stuff ready for my physio, playing teacher for the girls.
“With being pregnant as well, she’s got a lot on her plate.
“But this experience has really changed our mindsets and we’re a lot more grateful for what we have. She’s just as positive as I am about everything.”
And Masoe has hailed the support of the Rugby League community since January, including the Rugby League Benevolent Fund and former West Hull player Pete Stephenson, who had a similar injury in 2005.
Masoe added: “Steve Ball and the Benevolent Fund have been awesome – anything we’ve needed, all we’ve had to do is ask.
“Steve used to pop into the hospital at least twice a week and whatever we asked for they would help.
“We’re grateful for all of that and the help we’ve had from the whole Rugby League community.
“Pete (Stephenson) has been awesome too.
“It was weird that we had the same injury – the same C4 and C5 vertebrae.
“We talked for ages in hospital and there were some things that were similar and some things that worried me, and Pete was a great help.
“It’s been good for my mindset, surrounding myself with positive people.”