On the netball court, Adine Wilson owned it. On the attic ladder, not so much.

One moment the former Silver Ferns captain was climbing down from the attic of her and her husband's - former double All Black Jeff Wilson - Mangawhai holiday home.

The next, she was flat on her back with a broken neck and "millimetres" from paralysis.

Today, almost three years after the life-changing accident, the lawyer and mum-of-two will run the 12 kilometre traverse event in the Auckland Marathon, doing her bit to help others who suffer spinal injuries and are not so lucky.

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Adine Wilson in action against South Africa in a quarter final match of the Netball World Championship in 2007. Photo / NZPA / Wayne Drought
Adine Wilson in action against South Africa in a quarter final match of the Netball World Championship in 2007. Photo / NZPA / Wayne Drought

And while she might've been an ace on attack between the goal posts, Wilson is "not a long distance runner by any means", she told the Herald.

"I liked playing short, sharp netball and I liked sprints . . . [training for the traverse] has been a good challenge, but my body has also reminded me that I've played a lot of netball and it doesn't particularly like running on roads anymore, so I'm probably at my
limit.

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"I'm not trying to break any records or finish in the top particular number. My big focus is literally running from start to finish, so I'll be really proud if I can just constantly run, especially as I hit the Harbour Bridge."

Her effort was also about helping those who hadn't been as fortunate after suffering spinal injuries. The 40-year-old is running for the CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Research Trust, which fund research that aimed to fix paralysis following spinal cord injury.

"I always recognise how fortunate I've been, with my accident, and that others hadn't been so fortunate. It seemed like a nice way to give back to a cause that has a very direct meaning to me."

Wilson suffered her injury on New Year's Eve 2016, and immediately knew the fall wasn't the kind of one where you can "just brush yourself off and get up".

"I couldn't move my right side. I remember not wanting to scare my husband. He shouted out 'You ok?' and I said 'Uh, no'."

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Former Silver Fern Adine Wilson and her sons Harper Wilson, 11, and Lincoln Wilson, 9. Photo / Supplied
Former Silver Fern Adine Wilson and her sons Harper Wilson, 11, and Lincoln Wilson, 9. Photo / Supplied

The pair decided not to wake their sleeping sons, Harper, now 11, and Lincoln, now 9, as an ambulance crew arrived to take Wilson to Whangārei Base Hospital.

There it was discovered Wilson had two neck vertebrae fractures, one an unstable C4 fracture and the other a stable C7 fracture but "by some miracle" her spinal cord remained intact, with only a small bruise showing on the MRI scan.

The C4 fracture was considered unstable because a bone was "floating and had pushed into the spinal cord", Wilson said.

"Initially it was quite calm and then it turned quite chaotic. I was strapped down, but [hospital staff] strapped me down further and literally said 'do.not.move'."

Wilson was flown to Middlemore Hospital in Auckland, where a surgeon fused her C3, C4 and C5 vertebrae together in a six hour surgery on New Year's Day.

She has "rods, bolts and a cage encompassing my vertebrae" but was able to leave hospital in less than a week, after which she wore a neck brace for six weeks to heal her C7 stable fracture.

Almost three years on, the attic ladder has been replaced with stairs and a rail and Wilson suffers almost no ill-effects from her injury.

"Every now and then it lets me know it's there, if I overdo something . . . I don't brush it off, but I think you just remind yourself 'Goodness, that's the least of anything compared to what so many others have gone through'."

Former Silver Ferns netball player Tania Dalton, who died in 2017 after suffering a brain aneurysm. Photo / Greg Bowker
Former Silver Ferns netball player Tania Dalton, who died in 2017 after suffering a brain aneurysm. Photo / Greg Bowker

The injury, and the loss of friend and former Silver Ferns teammate Tania Dalton, who died after suffering a brain aneurysm in March 2017, had changed her outlook on life, Wilson said.

"I think to me the two are almost combined in my brain . . . what those two things made you learn is, I know it sounds cliche, but you have to live in the moment, and take the opportunities, and go outside and play basketball with your kids and if you can still run, go for a run.

"It taught me that you have to challenge yourself and get out there, because you literally don't know what's around the corner. I used to think things happened for a reason. I don't think that anymore.

"I think sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don't."

•Donations to Wilson for The CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Research Trust can be made at https://bit.ly/2VGw5zv

Plan your travel on race day

A raft of road closures and parking restrictions will be in place on Sunday to allow for a smooth running of the Auckland Marathon.

Full road closures include between 4am-11.30am impacting the Northern Busway (between Constellation Dve and Onewa Road interchange), the Onewa Rd southbound on-ramp, and southbound lanes 1 & 2 of the Northern Motorway (between Esmonde Rd and Onewa interchange and Shelly Beach Rd).

The Curran St on-ramp northbound and Shelly Beach Rd off-ramp are also closed between 4am-11am.

Closures will also impact Beaumont, Daldy, Jellicoe, Halsey and Fanshawe, Customs St West and Quay Sts in the heart of the city. And sections of Tamaki Drive are also closed from 4am-1pm.

Parking restrictions include around Victoria Park, including the western side of Halsey St (between Fanshawe and Victoria Sts) until 10pm Sunday.

Restrictions are also in place around the CBD and Viaduct Basin until 2pm Sunday; including Customs St West, Westhaven Dve, Beaumont St, Viaduct Harbour Ave and Lower Hobson St.

And parking is also banned on Tamaki Drive (from The Strand to St Helliers Bay) from 4am-1pm on race day. Any vehicles parked on that strip of road will be towed immediately.

>> For full list of closures and parking restrictions, visit: https://aucklandmarathon.co.nz/assets/2019/Road-Closures/AKM-Road-Closures-Letter-CBD-2019.pdf