Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns is not sure he will walk again, but says he is lucky to be alive after suffering a spinal stroke following life-saving treatment for a torn artery in August.
- Cairns was hospitalised after a heart attack, and later had a stroke following surgery
- The 51-year-old says he “has made his peace” with not walking again
- Several friendships have been rekindled after his brush with death
The stroke left the 51-year-old paralysed from the waist down.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever walk again and I have made my peace with that,” Cairns told the Daily Telegraph.
“It’s now about understanding I can lead a full and enjoyable life in a wheelchair but at the same time knowing it will be different.”
Cairns suffered a heart attack in August that resulted in an aortic dissection — a rupture of the aorta, which is the main artery that carries blood from the heart.
He was rushed into emergency surgery.
Cairns played 62 tests, 215 one-day internationals and two Twenty20 matches for New Zealand between 1989-2006.
After retiring from international cricket, he was accused of involvement in match fixing in India while captaining the Chandigarh Lions in the defunct Indian Cricket League in 2008.
He denied wrongdoing and fought several legal battles to clear his name, winning a libel case against former Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi in 2012.
In 2015, Cairns was cleared of perjury in relation to the libel case after being charged by Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service, where two of his former team mates, Brendon McCullum and Lou Vincent, testified against him.
Cairns said his brush with death had given him a chance to rebuild relationships.
“There have been relationships which … have fractured that have been reignited on the back of a new perspective on life. It is almost like everybody has moved on, which has been heart-warming,” he said.
“It was good of Brendon to wish me well. There is no direct contact between us but the fact he did that was very decent of him.”