Former Hurricanes lock Michael Fatialofa has opened up for the first time since suffering a spinal injury while playing for Worcester earlier this year.

Fatialofa, 27, suffered the injury less three months ago, and has been in hospital since.

A week and a half after Fatialofa was filmed walking unaided for the first time, he has spoken about his journey in an interview with 1 News.

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"From my neck down, I couldn't feel anything or move anything," Fatialofa said.

"It was pretty scary, and I was really short of breath because the spinal cord was compressed and anything below the spinal cord is affected. That includes my lungs and I was just trying to breathe."

Michael Fatialofa is a former Hurricanes player. Photo / Photosport
Michael Fatialofa is a former Hurricanes player. Photo / Photosport

Following the tackle incident, scans showed a fracture to Fatialofa's C4 vertebrae, as well as a spinal contusion.

"Some of [the medical staff] were quite straight up saying 'you've got to prepare for life in a wheelchair," he told 1 News.

"I was pretty scared. I just didn't want to be a burden to my wife and family. But then I thought I'd just leave it with God and see what happens."

He spent two weeks in intensive care, where he said he heard and saw things still difficult to speak of.

"My roommates were victims of gun violence and stabbings and I could hear everything going on. Just all the beeping and no sleep," he said.

"I heard some people die next to me. It was quite traumatising. All I could hear was a beeper go off, everyone rush in and then I have a new roommate the next day."


Fatialofa has since been transferred to a specialist spinal clinic in Aylesbury.

Doctors have been left speechless at his "miracle" recovery and ability to walk unassisted so soon.

"Walking is the tip of the iceberg with these types of injuries," he added. "My hands are probably the hardest thing for me - getting my hands functioning."

Fatialofa will remain in the UK to complete his recovery, before returning to New Zealand.