Tai Martin-Page, 27, (pictured) is optimistic about his recovery in a rehabilitation facility
A young AFL football player who was left paralysed after an on-field collision is fighting back in a rehabilitation facility in the hope it won’t be the end of his sporting career.
Tai Martin-Page, a 27-year-old former Darwin Buffaloes ruckman player, became paralysed earlier this year but plans to cheer his team from the sidelines on the weekend.
The talented players’ vertebrae was dislocated in two places and his spinal cord was damaged when his head struck the ground with force after chasing a loose ball just two minutes into a match.
Tai Martin-Page, 27, (pictured) is fighting back in a rehabilitation facility since he dislocated two vertebrae in his neck and damaged his spinal cord in a football match earlier this year
The young AFL football player was left paralysed after an on-field collision and was flown to Royal Perth Hospital for emergency spinal fusion surgery
Tai has spent the past two months in Adelaide’s Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre after he was flown to Royal Perth Hospital for emergency spinal fusion surgery, 9 News reported.
He began rehabilitation at the spinal ward but doctors didn’t know if he would walk again.
He told the program it was ‘just a waiting game to see how much it can heal and how much I’ll get back function-wise.’
‘Nothing has really left me from that moment,’ Tai told 9NEWS.
‘All I remember is the flash of the hit and then I remember being on my back looking up at the sky.’
Tai has spent the past two months in Adelaide’s Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre. He began rehabilitation at the spinal ward but doctors didn’t know if he would walk again
Tai’s daily routine now consists of gym sessions, physiotherapy, building his upper body strength and increasing his independence.
This is a far cry from January when Tai was barely able to sit up in his hospital bed.
‘Movement and feeling still hasn’t changed yet but with the physio’s assistance I was able to sit on the side of my bed for the first time,’ he said at the time.
But after building up strength and gaining some movement in his arms he has since been thriving in the rehabilitation program.
After building up strength and gaining some movement in his arms Tai has since been thriving in the rehabilitation program
Tai’s support team of health professionals and his two brothers believe he will continue with his sporting pursuits.
They say he is fit, motivated and keen to get better.
‘The motivation that got him through his football is the same motivation that will help him through his rehabilitation and beyond,’ Associate Professor Ruth Marshall said.
‘He’s a fit young man and he’s very keen. The motivation that got him through his football is the same motivation that will help him through,’ Associate Professor Ruth Marshall said
Tai played for the Darwin Buffaloes as a talented ruckman (left)
Tai will continue with the rehabilitation at the Hampstead facility until June and his long-term prognosis is still not known.
A fundraiser for his medical bills and to allow family to visit him in hospital raised $110,000 from more than 500 donors. The NTFL and the NT Thunder state side also donated $10,000 between them.
‘It is quite overwhelming,’ Tai said of the support.
‘People I have never met or heard of have sort of sent messages of support or donations.’
Tai was paralysed after an NTFL match (pictured) earlier this year. His vertebrae was dislocated and his spinal cord damaged when his head struck the ground after chasing a loose ball
The former Darwin Buffaloes ruckman player became paralysed just two minutes into an NTFL match earlier this year when his head struck the ground with force after chasing a loose ball
Tai is optimistic and positive about his recovery. The rehabilitation facility doesn’t believe his injury means the end of his sporting career.
‘He’s a really fit young man who has enjoyed sport and there’s no reason why he cannot do that again,’ Professor Marshall said.
Tai doesn’t want his injury to stand in the way of being there for a Buffaloes premiership and will fly up to Darwin this weekend to cheer from the sidelines.