I dodged a cannonball! Relieved Lynagh on the mend after stroke
09:17 GMT, 2 May 2012
Michael Lynagh stood with his
customary poise, only the length of a few torpedo kicks away from the
Ballymore rugby ground where he starred for Australia, explaining how
he'd lost some vision but otherwise survived a potentially fatal stroke.
The 48-year-old, a pivotal
player in Australia's 1991 World Cup triumph, was released from the
Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital on Wednesday morning, a week after
being moved out of intensive care and just over two weeks after arriving
in an ambulance after complaining of serious headaches and blurred
Road to recovery: Michael Lynagh and his father Ian at the Royal Brisbane hospital in Australia
He told a roomful of media at the hospital that apart from losing almost half the vision on his left side, he is otherwise in good shape.
Even his neurologist, Dr. Rob Henderson, remarked on how good the 72-test veteran's balance and coordination is considering what Lynagh has been through.
'I understand how lucky I am,' Lynagh said. 'I'm just very, very fortunate. As (Henderson) said to me, “You haven't just dodged a bullet; you've dodged a cannonball.”'
'It's been a tough couple of weeks,' he added. 'I must say, I'm very pleased to be here.'
Lynagh had a lengthy playing career – he was part of Australia's Grand Slam-winning tour of Britain and Ireland in 1984 and retired from international rugby in 1995 as the leading pointscorer (911) in tests.
Dodged a cannonball: Neurologist Dr Rob Henderson reveals how lucky Lynagh is
He retired from all rugby in 1998, ending with the Saracens club in north London. He now lives in southwest London with his wife and three young sons but was back in Brisbane, to visit family and friends, when the stroke put him in hospital.
He said he was having a few
low-strength beers with some old schoolmates in a low-key gathering when
he lost vision after a coughing fit triggered when he laughed and took a
sip of his drink at the same time.
innocuous as it seems, particularly for somebody who had experienced
the rough and tumble of rugby for so long, Dr. Henderson said it was the
kind of 'minor trauma' that could trigger the kind of stroke Lynagh
A split wall in
an artery in the back, right side of his neck triggered the stroke,
Henderson said. He said the type of stroke was often fatal, but rare for
a person of Lynagh's age.
spent six days in intensive care under constant monitoring, and
narrowly avoided having to undergo cranial surgery to allow for the
swelling and fluid around the brain stem.
'It's amazing he's done as well as he has,' said Henderson, who added that there was no evidence that Lynagh's rugby career had contributed to the stroke.
Lynagh is expected to continue therapy in Brisbane for the next three weeks before returning to Britain.
Legend: Lynagh in action for Australia
Renowned for his calm, composed demeanor and superb flyhalf skills, Lynagh was among the most popular players – with teammates and rivals alike – during his playing days which ended just as the professional era began in rugby union.
Typically, he started Wednesday's makeshift news conference with a lot of thankyous: to the doctors, nurses and hospital staff, to his mates and his family and the rugby community. He said he'd been overwhelmed by the number of messages of support he and his family have received from across the world.