Chris Cairns faces ‘greatest challenge’ after spinal stroke during surgery

Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns says he is “facing possibly the greatest challenge” of his life after being left paralysed from a spinal stroke during a heart operation.

The 51-year-old needed emergency surgery at a hospital in Sydney during August and was briefly on life support.

“Just over six weeks ago, I suffered a type A aortic dissection, which essentially means there’s a tear in one of the major arteries of the heart,” Cairns said in a video on social media.

“I had several surgeries and grafts and very thankfully the specialists were able to save the heart itself.

“One of the complications that arose was a spinal stroke, which in itself will provide me with possibly the greatest challenge I’ve ever faced in rehab going forward.

“Huge thanks to the team here at Canberra Hospital, to St Vincent’s in Sydney, the surgeons, the doctors, the nurses, the specialists – you saved my life.”

Cairns, who was left unable to use his legs after suffering the spinal stroke, added: “A long road ahead, but I’m grateful to be here.”

Considered one of the best all-rounders of his generation, Cairns played 62 Tests, 215 one-day internationals and two Twenty20s for New Zealand between 1989 and 2006 before becoming a television pundit.

His father Lance also represented New Zealand between 1974 and 1988.

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