x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Rugby player Stott-Briggs winning his hardest battle

A 63-year-old British man who suffered a spinal injury while playing rugby took his first steps this week after months of rehabilitation.

DUBAI // For old rugby warhorse Trevor Stott-Briggs, taking a first step on Monday night has brought the hope of walking again - and he has family, treatment and Radio 2 to thank for it.

Mr Stott-Briggs, who at 63 is one of the oldest rugby players in the country, sustained a serious spinal injury in February and has been in rehabilitation since.

But on Monday night, after months of painful work, the Briton, who has lived in Abu Dhabi for four years, took his first steps to recovery in front of family and friends at the Rochester Wellness rehabilitation clinic in Dubai.

"Having a good family behind you makes all the difference," Mr Stott-Briggs said. "Secondly, all the excellent treatment from all the nurses who have been massaging me, pushing, pulling and pushing has been very important.

"At the start I thought it was useless and I just had to bear with it. I then realised that's why they're doing it, when it started to work."

The accident occurred as Mr Stott-Briggs was playing for the Arabian Potbellies against the Sharjah Vets, teams with players aged over 35.

There were times, he said, when he wanted to give up, especially when he was in severe pain after surgery. "It was like lightning hitting both feet," Mr Stott-Briggs said. "It felt like someone was torturing me."

But positive thinking - and the Radio 2 breakfast show - got him this far, he said.

"The music they played was increasingly in line with where I was. A lot of the songs meant a lot to me."

Mr Stott-Briggs plans to take his family to the US at the end of the year to visit his sister and her family in North Carolina.

"I thought to myself I was going to get through it and I'm not alone now. I'm back," he said.