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Paralysed teenager George Claxton returns home to Blackburn

17 year old George Claxton has returned home to Blackburn after being paralysed playing rugby Photo:

15 year old George Claxton loved his rugby. He was playing for Blackburn U15s in February this year when the unthinkable happened. He went to tackle an opposition player coming off the back of a ruck, the next he knew, he was lying on the ground, numb.

Describing his accident, George says "I was going into a tackle and my head hit the ground and my body went over the top of it and the person who I was tackling fell on top of me and dislocated my neck. I tried to shout out and couldn't because I couldn't use my lungs properly."

As his father watched on from the sidelines, he was stretchered onto a spinal board and rushed to hospital in an air ambulance. His injuries were so severe that he's been left paralysed from the chest down, he can't move his fingers and he's facing the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

According to Spinal Injury Charity ASPIRE, George is one of about 800 people paralysed every year in the UK. 2.3% of young people sustaining spinal cord injuries are caused through sport. Overall, every eight hours in the UK someone is paralysed by a spinal cord injury. There are 40,000 people living with spinal cord injury in the country.

George has not spent his time in rehabilitation regretting what has happened or blaming anyone. Nourished by positivity, he has instead adapted to learn new skills including wood work. He says "I like rugby. There's no point in saying I wish i hadn't done that because you take what life gives you..I've had my down days in the past but i've learnt to cope with what I've got - I've got a different outlook on life now because I've got a lot of different options at the moment."

And after spending almost 8 months at the Princess Royal Spinal Injuries Unit in Sheffield, he's finally ready to come home.

"I've never seen him depressed negative in fact i used to go have chat with him to feel posiitve and thats helped a lot with recovery he's made and the kind of independence he's achieved during his stay here," said Dr Ram Hariharan, George's consultant.

He's now back home and facing a new set of challenges, but he's already looking to his future.

Getting back to school is George's top priority, as is winning back the mobility and independence most of us take for granted.