Stanwell Tops footballer Kurt Drysdale left paralysed after tackle gone wrong

Kurt Drysdale. Picture: Facebook

Kurt Drysdale. Picture: Facebook

A Stanwell Tops family has been left devastated by news their son may never walk again, after a football tackle gone horribly wrong.

Kurt Drysdale, 20, is in Royal North Shore Hospital on a respirator, unable to breathe unassisted after suffering a snapped C5 vertebrae and multiple spinal fractures.

A promising rugby league hooker who had played for the Cronulla Sharks under-20s team, his neck was crushed while playing for Cabramatta at Wentworthville on June 7.

"He could have made it to the NRL, but right now, I just want him walking." - Sonya Drysdale

His mum Sonya and dad Steve were in the stands as their son went down in an innocuous-looking tackle, and didn’t get up.

‘‘I thought he was knocked out because he didn’t move, but I knew something serious else was wrong’’, Ms Drysdale told the Mercury.

‘‘The guys on the field said he was instantly screaming in pain, and immediately lost feeling below his neck.’’ 

Cameras filming the game caught Kurt’s anguished moans of pain as he lay motionless on the grass.

He was rushed to nearby Westmead Hospital, where scans confirmed the worst – his C5 vertebrae had twisted and snapped, while he also sustained multiple other fractures that had lodged on his C6. He was airlifted to Royal North Shore Hospital and rushed into surgery to insert plates and screws into his neck.

‘‘On Monday he was moving his arms and had feeling, but the next day, he lost it again,’’ Ms Drysdale said.

‘‘At the moment, he’s a quadriplegic.’’

Kurt is currently hooked to a respirator, unable to breathe on his own, and has a low heart rate. The accident has taken a toll on the family. Kurt and brother Blake are only 14 months apart in age, and his heavily pregnant sister Skye is due to give birth any day. His mum, however, is not giving up.

Kurt Drysdale. Picture: Facebook

Kurt Drysdale. Picture: Facebook

‘‘He was at that stage where he could have made it to the NRL, but right now, I just want him walking. He’s one of the strongest, toughest kids you’ll ever know,’’ Ms Drysdale said.

The family has been overwhelmed with support and kind words. Ziems butchers, where Kurt’s dad works, is raising funds for his recovery.

‘‘The thoughts and prayers of all at the Sharks are with Kurt Drysdale and his family after his tragic accident,’’ the Cronulla Sharks posted on Facebook. 

Former NRL players, Kurt’s team-mates and coaches, and the NRL itself have also offered support.

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to raise funds for Kurt and his family. Details here. 

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