RUGBY LEAGUE star MOSE MASOE is getting back on his feet — literally — after a severe spinal injury as he learns to walk again.
His battle resonates with SunSport’s GARY CARTER, who went through the same thing following injuries sustained in an attack in 2015. He talks to Gary about his recovery and feelings over what happened.
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MOSE MASOE’S life is dominated today by five words — ‘heel-toe’ and ‘sit to stand’.
That is a lot better than five words said to him just four months ago . . . ‘you may never walk again’.
The Hull KR prop, 31, has targets. From winning trophies, it is now about walking around the house unaided.
And his eventual aim is to stride out in front of the crowd he was playing for when his career was ended in an instant.
An incident he describes as ‘my fault’. A ligament in Masoe’s neck snapped and blocked his spinal cord during a pre-season match at Wakefield.
Now he can walk unaided, do the vacuuming and even head up stairs in a remarkable recovery.
I’ hope to get about the house without a frame. I can do about ten metres unaided. I was quite emotional when I saw the first time I tried on video.
‘Get up and walk’ sounds simple. But when you learn all over again as an adult, it is anything but, especially when you remember how routine it once was.
I can draw on those experiences and difficulties and it is reinvigorating to hear Masoe talk so positively about his fight.
Masoe goes through the ‘heel-toe’ instruction, which is placing your feet heel first then rolling on to your toe.
As it runs through his head, I am reminded that this is not something anyone without such an injury has ever had to think about.
Masoe also wants to get up from his perching stool — a special taller chair — without using his arms for support.
And he wants to do it within eight weeks when wife Carissa is due to give birth to his son.
Masoe, who aims to restart specialist physio soon, added: “I’m hoping I can get about the house without a frame.
“Heel-toe is constant but I’ve also had a bad knee from one of my other injuries!
“I can do about ten metres unaided. I was quite emotional when I looked back on the first time I tried on video.
“Just seeing the excitement in my little girls’ faces and how much it means for us as a family.
“My next aim is to do ‘sit to stand’ without using my arms. I still use my shoulders to push myself up.
“As a sportsman, you’re used to repetition but I’m trying to do things every day and a little more. I still get stomach spasms, though, and my balance isn’t great — it takes me about ten steps to turn 180 degrees.
There were people in there due to accidents not their fault. What happened is pretty much my fault as I was doing something I loved.
“I’m doing a lot more than I was in hospital. But I’ve still got to be careful.”
Masoe has been supported by the Rugby Football League Benevolent Fund, with a stairlift put in at his home.
The former Samoa international can now manage to get upstairs on his feet but comes down on his backside.
Masoe was used to Herculean efforts after establishing himself as one of Super League’s most powerful props.
While most people in his position probably would not want to watch another second of rugby league action, he is quite the opposite. In fact, he wants to enjoy it live at Craven Park.
Masoe added: “I’m just grateful for playing a game I love for 12 years.
“At the spinal unit, there were people in there due to accidents that were not their fault.
“What happened is pretty much my own fault as it happened when I was doing something I loved.
“And I can’t wait to get back to Hull KR. Everyone has been there for me.”
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