Former Northampton and Australia centre Rob Horne has opened up on coming to terms with his retirement from rugby at the age of 28.
On April 14 this year, Horne, who was captaining Saints for the first time against Leicester, chased a kick-off before attempting the first tackle of the game against the Tigers’ giant back-rower Sione Kalamafoni.
Only 12 seconds had been played before Horne found himself prone on the ground and in need of urgent treatment.
Ex-Northampton and Australia centre Rob Horne has opened up on paralysis and retirement
He was forced to retire after attempting to tackle Sione Kalamafoni back in April this year
The Australian received lengthy treatment on the pitch against Leicester after the tackle
2008-17 – Waratahs
2014–17 – Greater Sydney Rams
2017–18 – Northampton Saints
Australia (34 caps)
‘I just remember being unable to move,’ the Australian told the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast.
‘I was lying there pretty embarrassed. I just wanted to get up and play.’
It transpired, however, that the 34-cap Australia international had sustained nerve damage and paralysis in his right arm as a result of the tackle.
Horne, now 29, subsequently retired from the game and will never have feeling in his right arm again.
He admitted to enduring a ‘rough patch’ following the surgery but, upon further reflection, is now beginning to deal better with his recovery.
‘I’m just happy to have found my feet now,’ he said of dealing with his paralysis
‘I’ve got one arm so you have to find ways of doing things you took for granted,’ he added
‘I’m just happy to have found my feet now. I’ve got one arm so you have to find ways of doing things you took for granted,’ he added.
‘Initially it took forever for me to get ready. I have two young kids at home and working out why Dad can’t pick me up at the moment is a really difficult thing to explain to a toddler. But you find ways.
‘The body is pretty amazing and the mind is certainly an incredible thing. You adapt, you continue to develop and find ways to do things.
‘Living with paralysis, I am getting more efficient in day-to-day life.’
Horne credited rugby with giving him many great moments during his career
Horne credits rugby with giving him many great moments and iterated just how important a part it has played in his life.
Despite the incalculable tribulations which have followed his injury, however, he holds no bitterness towards the game and maintains that everyone who plays it should enjoy it while it lasts.
‘You can’t live in fear. Does anyone have a plan? Everyone is getting by and finding their way,’ he continued.
‘The way I approached the young guys in the Saints changing room was to just get the best out of themselves and not to play with fear.’
Horne has already started to focus on the next chapter of his life and is studying a Masters degree in commerce at Charles Sturt University in New South Wales.