“I woke up on a ventilator” – Ex-St Helens star opens up on horrifying accident

Daniel Anderson will forever be beloved at St Helens.

The former Saints boss took charge mid way through 2005 and quickly developed them into being the favourites for all three trophies.

So much so, this side is often regarded as one of the best to miss out on winning the Grand Final.

They only came away with the League Leaders’ Shield in 2005 but in 2006 became only the second team to win the treble.

In fact, this team is widely regarded as the best Super League team ever and he would back that up by winning the World Club Challenge in 2007.

Furthermore, in 2007 he was 80 minutes away from a double treble winning the League Leaders’ Shield again and the Challenge Cup Final but losing to Leeds Rhinos at Old Trafford.

It would be the same case in 2008 before he returned to Australia.

Anderson was working for Sydney Roosters as part of their recruitment team when in December he suffered a nasty accident that left him in hospital on a ventilator.

The ex-Saints boss was body surfing on the NSW Central Coast when he was worryingly dumped onto his neck by a big wave and that family members quickly rushed to his aid.

Anderson suffered a spinal cord injury as consequence and now struggles to move.

He has now been classified as incomplete quadriplegic.

Daniel’s friends, and with a lot of rugby league support, have opened a fund to provide ongoing financial assistance, enabling Daniel to continue with intensive physiotherapy and to purchase essential equipment and undertake home modifications.

You can donate here.

Anderson has now opened up on the horrifying accident on Fox News’ YouTube channel.

“As soon as I woke up I was on a ventilator and they’d sort of already at that early stage said I’d be a quadriplegic,” he said.

“My injury is what they call an incomplete spinal injury so no one can tell you if you’ll get any feeling or function back, but they also can’t tell you that it won’t happen.

“Day three or day four I wiggled a big toe and that’s where it started and I got out of the ventilator and into the ICU.

“Sleep eluded me early on, I probably did about an hour a day. I was pretty shot mentally, lying on my back, can’t move and with a clock dead set in my line of view so I’d be clock watching from probably 1am till the morning.

“That’s when my wife would come into the ICU and life would start again in the hospital and I was distracted.

“You can’t worry about what you don’t have, but what you do have and possibly where you can get to. The minute I was allowed to start therapy is the minute we started it. You distract your focus towards training, therapy and visiting specialists.

“My family haven’t stopped bagging me about different things, you’ve got to have some sort of sense of humour.

“I can’t walk but I’ve got a lot of movement through all the therapy. I’ve got to try and beat gravity with my hands which is a bugger of a challenge. I’ve got a bit of movement in my right so I can dial a number on a phone which I couldn’t do two or three weeks ago.

“I’ve got a lot of movement, but not a lot of function. That’s where I’ve got to aim and the next 18 months is about accessing function.

“The doctors have said there’s six months where I’ll get the most back, but it’s up to two years so I’ll continue on a road to recover. Speaking to people with spinal cord injuries there’s a lot of same stories where you bounce off people who are six months ahead, or six months behind, have they caught you or can you catch them. You’re trying to get to a point where you can have a meaningful life.”