A TEENAGER left paralysed after a rugby tackle went wrong said the accident was the ‘best thing that ever happened to him’.
15-year-old George Claxton was due to sit his GCSE exams when he landed awkwardly trying to execute a tackle during a game for Blackburn RUFC.
But the flanker is determined not to let his accident get him down as he hopes to take up wheelchair rugby, also known as ‘murderball’, ahead on the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
George, of Sandringham Close, Blackburn said: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That is the philosophy I live by.
“This accident has brought me and my family closer than ever before and I honestly couldn’t be more happy. Everyone who is important to me has been amazing, including my friends who have even been to visit me in hospital.”
The inspirational St Wilfred’s CE Academy pupil was playing for the Under 15s team when he was flipped over by the momentum of his body crashing into his opponent.
He was airlifted to the Royal Preston Hospital by the North West Air Ambulance and was taken for a CAT scan to access his injuries.
Due to the swelling to his neck doctors at that stage were unable to say if George had broken or dislocated it.
So medics decided to send him to Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital for further tests.
There an MRI scan revealed George had actually dislocated his neck, shattering a spinal disc and twisted his spinal column.
George was immediately taken into surgery and fitted with a halo brace, which is designed to stretch out the spine and preventing new movement causing further damage.
He also had his damaged spinal disc removed in surgery and replaced with a plastic cage.
A day and a half after the accident George started to regain movement in his arms and three weeks later he was transferred to Sheffield Princess Royal’s spinal unit where he is still being treated almost eight months on.
George, who lost his mum Andrea to cancer in 2005, is now confined to a wheelchair.
He said: “I knew something was wrong immed-iately as the accident happened as I just couldn’t move or feel anything. I want to say a massive thank you to the emergency services who helped me that day. I’m looking forward to the future, getting out of hospital, finishing my GCSE and hopefully one day maybe even going to university.”
Members of Blackburn RUFC have now set up a trust fund for George to help pay for alterations to his home and future expenses.
George’s dad Andrew has been by his side everyday since the accident. He said: “As long as George is happy, that is all that matters. I still believe he can achieve all his goals in life and do whatever he puts his mind to.
“We can’t thank all our family and friends enough for their kind wishes espe-cially those who have creat-ed the George Claxton Trust Fund.”
A glitter and gold rugby ball is being held at Ewood Park on November 10 to raise money for the George Claxton Trust.
For more information visit www.georgeclaxtontrust. com