Positive signs for Alex McKinnon

Alex McKinnon in hospital.
Credit: newcastleknights.com.au
Alex McKinnon in hospital. Credit: newcastleknights.com.au
Positive ... Alex McKinnon in hospital. Photo: newcastleknights.com.au

Positive ... Alex McKinnon in hospital. Photo: newcastleknights.com.au

Positive ... Alex McKinnon in hospital. Photo: @newcastleknights.com.au

Positive ... Alex McKinnon in hospital. Photo: @newcastleknights.com.au

Alex McKinnon says it’s been a "tough" month but the progress he is making from a devastating spinal injury is what keeps him going.

Speaking on camera for the first time, a positive McKinnon told the Newcastle Knights website that there were positive signs in his recovery. McKinnon said he was confident his condition would continue to improve.

"[I have] a lot more movement in my right arm and a lot of movement in my left arm," McKinnon said. "It’s just a matter of time that hopefully I get a bit more movement in my legs. I’ve got a great sensational feeling through my legs. [There are] a lot of positive signs."

McKinnon undergoes two sessions of physiotherapy a day. He has been moved to a spinal rehabilitation ward at Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital from Melbourne and will stay there for at least two more months before relocating to a facility in Ryde.

"Physio is pretty much getting my legs and my arms moving," McKinnon said. "Obviously not moving much in the last four weeks they are a little bit stiff.

"A lot of occupational therapy, which is picking up little small things. I was playing Connect Four yesterday and that was pretty fun. Frustrating but fun. Trying to do little things like that."

McKinnon said he had been overwhelmed by the support he had received and was reduced to tears when he watched the tribute his Newcastle teammates paid him when they played the Sharks recently.

"One of the things I miss the most is the boys and being around them," McKinnon said. "Them coming in makes me so happy and it really makes my week. I still haven’t watched the Cronulla game. I watched a clip of it and I was in tears straight away.

"They are being very strong for me."

McKinnon suffered a devastating spinal injury in the final seconds of the first half of Newcastle's 28-20 loss to Melbourne at AAMI Park on March 24. He announced his engagement to long-term partner Teigan Power via Instagram earlier this month and vowed to walk her down the aisle.

"It’s been a tough month," McKinnon said. "There is a lot of improvements and that’s the thing that is keeping me going. I have a great family and a great partner and they are with me every day.

The 22-year-old was placed in an induced coma after undergoing surgery to fuse two fractured vertebrae and to have a disc removed at C4-C5 level.

It was revealed this week that league officials were considering a proposal to award a medal named in honour of McKinnon to the man of the match in the City-Country fixture.

"It was only last night that I was saying 'I wish I was better and I wish I could do something else'," McKinnon said. "And [Power] said: 'You are better. It was only two weeks ago that you were laying in a bed in Melbourne'.

"I’ve come a long way in four weeks."

This story Positive signs for Alex McKinnon first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.