A former rugby player who learned to walk again after a devastating accident that ended his career has been praised for his ‘strength and determination’.
Ed Jackson, 32, used to play for Coventry-based Wasps RFC but was told he would never walk again after he dived into a shallow swimming pool and suffered extensive spinal injuries in 2017.
But after extensive surgery and rehabilitation he went from flickers of movement in his toes to pushing his body to its limit and was able to walk down the aisle to wife Lois earlier this year.
Appearing on This Morning today with his wife, Ed told how his then fiancée was the driving force behind his recovery, explaining that the thought of his loved ones caring for him for the rest of his life made him ‘spend every waking moment trying to get moving’.
Former rugby player Ed Jackson, 32, was told he would never walk again after he dived into a shallow swimming pool and suffered extensive spinal injuries in 2017. He is pictured during a match in 2015
But after extensive surgery and rehabilitation he went from flickers of movement in his toes to pushing his body to its limit and Ed appeared on This Morning to speak about his recovery
‘I’ve been incredibly lucky’, said Ed. ‘You can only recover to within the scope of your injury, yes I was told I was never going to walk again, but there was obviously a chance.
‘When I was delivered that message I had a weird response, it was hard to hear but I remember looking at Lois and my mum and they just burst into tears.
‘I remember thinking this isn’t just about you any more, these people could be caring for you for the rest of my life and I made the decision then that if in six months time I looked back and I hadn’t done everything I could to get better, I could never forgive myself.
‘But if I was still in that position and I had done everything and it was out of my hands, I could make peace with that. It motivated me to get going and spend every waking moment trying to get moving’.
Ed dislocated his C6/C7 vertebrae and exploded a disc, which caused the shards to slice through the left hand-side of his spinal cord. He is pictured in hospital following his injury
Viewers were touched by the couple, with one taking to social media to write: ‘Inspiring Ed and Lois, well done guys’.
Another wrote: ‘Well done to both of them, him for his determination to not be totally beaten by this and her for not panicking and sticking by him regardless.’
‘I really hope you have that young couple on again soon. Inspirational doesn’t cover it!’, wrote a third.
‘Inspirational couple re the life changing injury. I can’t remember the last time I bought a book but I am ordering this gents ‘Lucky’. There must be a lesson in it for us all. Vey moving’, said another.
Ed suffered his injury at a family friend’s house and remembered ‘not concentrating’ before diving into a pool that was only ‘about three feet deep’.
‘First of all I was like ‘Oh I’ve hit my head hard there, I’ll just stand up and check if I’m bleeding, but I quickly realised something was seriously wrong when I couldn’t move.’
Viewers were touched by the couple, with one taking to social media to write: ‘Inspiring Ed and Lois, well done guys’
Ed’s dad pulled him to the surface and kept him stable in the pool. He dislocated his C6/C7 vertebrae and exploded a disc, which caused the shards to slice through the left hand-side of his spinal cord.
This removed 8mm of spinal cord, leaving him with a mere 4mm. Jackson had to be resuscitated three times in the ambulance on his way to hospital.
The former rugby player had cardiac arrest on the way to hospital and physically died at least twice.
‘I just remember feeling a bit sleepy, said Ed. ‘There was no bright light or pearly gates, I thought it was a 15 minute to hospital but it turns out the journey was two and a half hours because they kept having to resuscitate me.’
Lois found out about the injury after a phone call from Ed’s step mum, but says she had no idea of the full extent of his injuries before arriving at the hospital.
He appeared on This Morning today with his wife Lois and told how his then fiancé was the driving force behind his recovery, explaining that the thought of his loved ones caring for him for the rest of his life made him ‘spend every waking moment trying to get moving’
‘His head was strapped down with one of those red helmet things and he was shaking, he just looked at me and said ‘I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry’. Because at that time he thought our life we had planned was over.’
She added: ‘It was pretty scary in those first few moments’.
Ed went straight into a seven hour surgery, with doctors telling Ed there was a chance he wouldn’t wake up.
‘When I then was in intensive care, I was like i’ll try and wiggle my toes and feet’, said Ed. ‘That nightmare became a reality then and that thing you hear happening to other people was all of a sudden you.’
Lois said it was challenging to adapt in the early days of Ed’s injury, but that she has ‘fallen in love with the new Ed’.
‘There was a lot to take on and I think at the beginning’, said Lois. ‘We were quite bad at the communication, because you’re both trying to be strong for each other, you don’t want the other person to see you’re struggling.
Lois told hosts Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes it was challenging to adapt in the early days of Ed’s injury, but that she has ‘fallen in love with the new Ed’
‘For me once we returned from hospital and you go home and you’re meant to get on with this normal life and it isn’t normal anymore.
‘Ed had changed so much, not just physically, he’s lost so much weight, his whole outlook on life had changed so for me it was getting used to the new ed and falling in love with the new Ed.’
Ed added: ‘I was so lucky to have Louis and i’ve always known that from the start and having the focus on her is what made the difference to put those hours and hours into recovery.’
Now a recovering quadriplegic, Ed and his wife, Lois, co-founded the charity Millimetres 2 Mountains alongside former England rugby player Olly Barkley.
Their aim was to help people overcome mental health challenges through exploration and adventure and they’ve managed to raise over £200,000 for a number of charities including Restart Rugby, Wings for Life, Neverest Orthopaedics and the NHS.
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