Exclusive: Huddersfield Giants star reveals how ‘freak accident’ could have ended his career

For one Huddersfield Giants star, the 2020 Super League season turned into an absolute nightmare.

Aside from the increasingly problematic Covid-19 issue which had plagued most of that year, for hooker Adam O’Brien, there was a greater issue at hand.

A seemingly innocuous knock was picked up after the hooker tried to scoot over from dummy half in a fixture against the Leeds Rhinos.

However, it turned out to be far from innocuous – and the incident could have cost him his rugby league career as well as his way of life.

“It was a strange one, we had all come out of the Covid situation and got the season back underway and then we played Leeds away at St Helens,” O’Brien told Serious About Rugby League.

“I tried to score from dummy half and ended up hitting Adam Cuthbertson’s leg – I had a shooting pain down my spine and didn’t think much of it but we went through the protocols.

“I thought i had just jarred my neck and I went to hospital for an X-ray – they said I had a fracture in my spine.”

For the 28-year-old, that news didn’t sink in until he got home.

“It didn’t really click what had gone on – they took an MRI scan but thankfully I didn’t need surgery.

“In that respect, I had a bit of good luck but it didn’t really settle in until I got home and it could have gone a completely different way.

“It was a big injury, I had a neck brace on for 6-8 weeks where I couldn’t really do much, then i got on a gym bike and did some light weights.

“I had a soft collar and could do a few more activities after 12 weeks and then I went for another X-ray and everything had healed.

“I got the all clear that I could play again and not need anymore support.”

O’Brien added: “My wife and mum and dad when they sat with me, my grandad gave me one of his longback chairs in the front room because other chairs wouldn’t support me.

“I look back and that could have been me for life, but luckily it didn’t go that way.

“Mentally, it didn’t sink in until later down the line, but it’s not put me off rugby – it was a freak accident.”

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