On Saturday the 5th of April 2014, 7 minutes in to the second quarter during a clash between the Albury Tigers and Yarrawonga Pigeons, 20 year old James McQuillan sustained a serious spinal cord injury during a routine collision with an opponent. The collision occurred during a contest in which McQuillan placed his head over the ball and unfortunately collided with the leg of his opponent, there was no malice involved in the incident.
James, a young physiotherapy student, immediately recognised the seriousness of the situation and took all possible precautions to ensure his team mates and opponents did not move him.
Paramedics were called immediately and the game called off and declared a draw. James was transported by ambulance from the Albury Sports Ground to the Albury Base Hospital and later airlifted to the Austin Hospital in Melbourne. Scans revealed that James had sustained an unstable fracture which caused severe spinal cord damage. James underwent surgery the following morning to decompress the spinal cord and stabilise his neck as to not cause further damage.
The full ramifications of James’ injury will not be known for some time. In the near future James will begin a long process of rehabilitation, the duration of which is not clear. Currently James is in the spinal unit at the Austin Hospital, and will move to the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre in the near future. It is anticipated James will be in Melbourne for at least 6 months.
Currently, James remains optimistic and in good spirits. His positive attitude and motivation do not come as a surprise to those who know James well, and these attributes will be of great benefit to him as he persists with rehabilitation. James and his family are very thankful and overwhelmed with the support, prayers and love that have been extended their way from the community at large
The McQuillan family hold a special place in our hearts at Echuca College and we encourage all the community to support James on his road to recovery. Please follow James and upcoming on his website http://jamesmcquillan.com.au/