New Widnes Vikings signing Jack Buchanan considers himself fortunate to be alive, after surviving a horror car crash when he fell asleep at the wheel at the age of 18.
Widnes secured the signing of the Wests Tigers forward earlier this month and he was in attendance for the club’s Magic Weekend match against Salford.
However, things could have been very different for the 24-year-old, who miraculously survived when he flipped his car on a highway, leaving the scene with just minor injuries despite crashing at 100kph.
“When I was 18 I fell asleep at the wheel while I was a driving a car with three of my friends in it,” Buchanan explained to League Express.
“I wasn’t drinking, I hadn’t done anything like that. We were just driving home late from a State of Origin game and I’d been up all day, so I fell asleep at the wheel, hit a concrete wall in the middle of the highway at 100kph (62 mph) and flipped it.
“Luckily enough all four of us got out alive with minimal injuries, so we were very fortunate that night, there was someone watching over us for sure.”
Although the incident didn’t hamper his promising Rugby League career, it certainly had an impact on his mindset.
“I just take every day for granted now,” he said.
“It was definitely a wake-up call. The scariness of it was the biggest factor. But since then I haven’t looked back and I just take every day I get.”
Buchanan’s move to the Vikings has allowed him to get reacquainted with Charly Runciman, who he played with during his time at Wests. In fact, the Widnes centre was a major influence on his decision to make the move to Super League.
“I have spoken to Charly a few times since he’s been at Widnes and he’s done nothing but speak highly of the club, how much he enjoys Super League and how much he has improved as a player. It has been a massive influence on me coming over here,” added Buchanan.
“They’ve (Widnes) got quite a few Aussies, which should make the transition a lot easier for me. I’ve always wanted to come to England and I’m really appreciative that I have that chance now.”
Among many reasons for joining Widnes, the opportunity to work with Vikings assistant Brett Hodgson was a big lure for Buchanan.
“He was a past Wests player, so I’ve been speaking to him quite a bit. He was a great player and growing up as a kid I would watch him on TV, so to work with him is a dream come true.”
This article originally appeared in League Express. To the get all the latest untold stories and news from around the world, get your copy in stores every Monday or online by clicking here