Rugby: The moment Jones knew he was paralysed

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The Independent Online
It is now almost five weeks since the former Wales captain Gwyn Jones suffered a serious neck injury playing for Cardiff against Swansea. The damage to his spinal cord was such that the flanker will never play again. Jones spoke publicly about the injury for the first time yesterday in the Western Mail.

"I remember following Robert Howley in to try to secure the ball and ended up in a difficult position," he said. "I felt a push from both sides, somebody behind and somebody in front. To be honest I just remember feeling a crunch in my neck.

"I didn't immediately know how serious the situation was, although I was aware that something had happened. When the bodies started falling on top of me I just thought I was trapped underneath the ruck. I thought that was why I couldn't move.

"But then as the other players ran away I was left on my own. I tried to get up but quickly realised that I couldn't move.

"When I looked down and saw my arms there I couldn't really work it out. Because I couldn't feel anything I wasn't sure they were mine. However, once I saw the strapping on my hand I realised they were my hands and then I knew it was a serious injury."

Jones, a trainee doctor, realised the extent of his injury before most and is under no illusions about his chances of a full recovery.

"Being partially educated in medicine, I understand what has happened to a certain extent. The physiotherapy is very demanding physically. Four weeks after the operation I have developed some movement in my arms and legs, even if it is not that co-ordinated. Obviously my long-term goal is to make a good enough recovery to get back to being a doctor. That was what I started out to be and that is what I would like to be."

Jones has been abled to keep his spirits up largely because of the support he has received throughout Welsh rugby.

"So many people have also taken their time to visit. The players at Cardiff have been magnificent in their support. They even bought me a new television and video recorder and an endless supply of videotapes to watch. Unfortunately, the physiotherapists are working me hard and don't give me enough time to watch them!"