‘I have dodged a bul­let’

Young rugby star beats the odds of just an 8 per cent chance of sur­vival.

Herald on Sunday - - THIS WEEK - By Kelly Den­nett

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

Mike Scott

Hay­den An­der­son will be off the field for a year but his main fo­cus is just be­ing able to walk again.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.