Neck-break John powers to recovery

Reporter: Janice Barker
Date published: 28 January 2010

Rugby player’s marathon effort is a thank-you to charity

A former rugby player who is fighting to walk again after breaking his neck will tackle an indoor rowing marathon to thank the charity which has helped his recovery.

John Power, who now lives in Grotton, was 18 when he was paralysed in a freak accident as he played his first game for Oldham RL Club’s under 19 academy side in 1995.

After years of treatment and hard work John can now walk with assistance and support from a leg calliper, and lives in a specially converted bungalow, drives an adapted car and is engaged to be married.

But during the past 15 years he has been helped by Try Assist, the Rugby Football League’s Benevolent Fund, which has installed a physiotherapy room at his new home, helped him with a special cycling machine to strengthen his legs, and installed a ramp at the front door.

John, (33) said: “It is amazing what the charity will do. The fund has helped me in so many ways and now it is time to give them something back.”

He aims to row the 26 mile distance on a static machine at the Carnegie Challenge at Leeds Metropolitan University on April 15, finishing in under four hours and raising at least £1,000.

And he will be in star company — also taking part are former Great Britain internationals Barrie McDermott and Paul Sculthorpe, also from Oldham, and Kris Radinski, plus the BBC’s Dave Woods and a Sky Sports All Star team.

John, who until recently worked as a programmer for a computer game company, has always made walking again unaided his goal.

He said: “My physio is really hoping that this time next year I will stand independently. It has taken a long time but I will definitely get there.”

John is hoping local people will help with donations and has a website