‘I have dodged a bullet’
Young rugby star beats the odds of just an 8 per cent chance of survival.
Heartland rugby player Hayden Anderson has opened up about his brush with death after a series of rare medical events left him clinging to life.
The 21-year-old Thames Valley recruit broke his leg just minutes into a Heartland Championship clash after colliding with another player on September 16.
After having surgery at Waikato Hospital for his broken tibia and fibia, Anderson developed the rare Fat Embolism Syndrome, where fat leaks into the bloodstream and can cause serious problems for the internal organs.
To complicate matters, he developed a lung infection. His condition dramatically worsened and after surgery he was put on life support and given just an 8 per cent chance of survival.
Anderson miraculously pulled through and said his father had to explain to him after what had happened — he was unaware that he’d been in intensive care for a week.
“My dad told me how serious it was and that’s when it really hit me, and a lot of my memories came back.
“I couldn’t remember the game for some time. I knew my leg was broken, I just couldn’t remember what I’d done,” Anderson told the Herald on Sunday from his hospital bed.
“When Dad told me how serious it was, it was a huge eye-opener. When I was told I had an 8 per cent chance of survival, I thought, ‘Shoot, I’ve really dodged a bullet. I’m really lucky here’.”
Recalling the tackle that led to his hospitalisation, Anderson — father to a 3-month-old son — said the ensuing few weeks had been “a dream”.
“[The break] wasn’t actually that painful. I was in that much shock I didn’t actually feel pain, and then I’ve been on drugs up until this point,” he said.
“When I was on life support it was just a dream, and I thought they were solid memories. I’ve been talking to family about that, and they said none of it had happened.
“I dreamed my brother-in-law was visiting me, but he hasn’t been here at all.”
Anderson will spend the next week in hospital to clear any niggling lung issues and will return home to Mt Maunganui on crutches.
Doctors will do further tests to confirm whether his leg has suffered nerve damage. If so, he’ll need more surgery. For the next year at least, Anderson will be off the field, but that doesn’t bother him too much.
“I love the game but I’ve been through hell so about it, really.
“Obviously I’ll be stoked to get out on the field again but the main step right now is just to walk again.
He’d lost more than 10kg — “I’m not looking like a prop that’s for sure” — but hospital staff were giving him extra food.
Barry Anderson flew from Perth to be with his son, and the New Zealand I’m not thinking
HWatch the video at nzherald.co.nz Rugby Foundation was helping with accommodation and travel expenses.
Barry Anderson “couldn’t get over” the kindness of the Waikato Hospital staff.
“It has been great. here [intensive care].
“There’s always two people by his side and the staff just went out of their way to make us welcome and to keep us informed.” Especially in
Hayden Anderson will be off the field for a year but his main focus is just being able to walk again.