Alex McKinnon has made significant progress following a career-ending spinal injury sustained during the 2014 NRL season and can now stand up on his own, according to Newcastle Knights coach Rick Stone.
The 22-year-old was left wheelchair bound after breaking his neck in a dangerous tackle during a round 3 clash against Melbourne last year, but continues to make inspirational progress.
“He’s just finished in his rehab and he actually stood up unabated the other day … he stood up on his own which is a terrific sort of step for Alex,” Stone told Sky Sports Radio.
“I am in the final stages of my current rehabilitation program on the Gold Coast,” he said.
McKinnon confirmed the news via a club statement and said he intends to re-join the team this year in a front office role.
“When aided to stand up out of my chair, I am now able to stand for a short amount of time with assistance.
“I am set to return to Newcastle in the coming weeks to commence my new role with the Knights.”
The club is hoping to involve McKinnon in an operations capacity alongside coach Stone, as well as director of football Michael Hagan and high performance coach Troy Pezet.
“We have been talking a little bit about a role here internally. He’s going to start after the Australia Day weekend on the 27th of January and work with myself, Michael Hagan and Troy Pezet, who is our high performance coach, in and around footy,” Stone said.
“He’ll be looking at the videos and looking at other things, being involved with our recruitment, and he’ll probably spend a day a week in the commercial area as well.”
Photo: Tony Feder/Getty Images.