Alex McKinnon of the Newcastle Knights suffered a horrendous injury during a game against Melbourne last week, a blow which has united the Rugby world in their support of the stricken star.
McKinnon is thought to have been diagnosed as a quadriplegic after he fractured two vertebrae in a tackle which has ended his career. He was placed in an induced coma in hospital and has just woken up to communicate with his family for the first time following the incident.
McKinnon first played for St George Illawara Dragons but only managed three senior games as a youngster, before then joining the Knights to play under legendary coach Wayne Bennett.
This is where McKinnon really started to shine and his form for the Knights saw him play for New South Wales U20's, while also earning himself a call up to the Junior Kangaroos team to face the Kiwis.
Newcastle played on last weekend in an emotional victory over Cronulla, where McKinnon's team mates gathered for a huddle pre game to mark the youngster's horribly unfortunate absence.
Coach Wayne Bennett said how he was 'close to tears' after the victory.
The thoughts of the rugby world remain very much with the 22-year-old, with shock the ovveriding emotion as the youngster faces up to an all too abrupt retirement from the spot he loves.
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