Ex-NRL star left a quadriplegic in on-field accident breaks silence just before his wife gives birth


Ex-NRL star left a quadriplegic who can’t breathe without a ventilator in horror on-field accident breaks his silence just before his wife gives birth – as she reveals people thought she’d have his life support turned off

  • Nathan Stapleton was paralysed from the shoulders down in April 
  • Two Sydney hospitals are making sure he can be at the birth of his second child 
  • His wife has revealed shocking details about accident that changed their lives 

Former Cronulla Sharks star Nathan Stapleton has revealed he is ‘excited and grateful’ to be able to be there for the birth of his second child as he opens up for the first time since he was left a quadriplegic in a horror incident during a game of rugby.

The 32-year-old is paralysed from the shoulders down and needs a ventilator to breathe after he broke his neck while playing a match in West Wyalong, around 500km west of Sydney, on April 9.

He and wife Katy have an 18-month-old son, Harry, and they’re expecting their second child next week – with two Sydney hospitals going to great lengths to ensure he can be there for the birth.

‘Never in a million years did I think I would be going to my wife’s birth as a quadriplegic, but I am excited and grateful,’ Stapleton told the Daily Telegraph.

Stapleton – seen here recovering in intensive care with wife Katy and son Harry by his side – says he feels ‘positive’ despite having his life turned upside down by the accident

Two Sydney hospitals are going to great lengths to ensure he can be there when Katy gives birth to their second child next week

Two Sydney hospitals are going to great lengths to ensure he can be there when Katy gives birth to their second child next week

Despite facing a long and difficult health battle, he added ‘I feel good, I’m positive.’

Staff at the Prince of Wales Hospital where Stapleton is being treated in the intensive care unit are going to take him and the machines that help him breathe to the nearby Royal Hospital for Women for the big occasion.

Katy has been by her husband’s side throughout his battle, which has taken her mind off the impending new addition to their family.

‘I’ve been in an ICU bubble and I’d not really thought about the birth, to be honest. It was, “I don’t care, I’ll just give birth”.

‘He (Nathan) is doing incredibly, considering everything he has got going on, he is doing so well.

‘He is a real trooper and he is so mentally strong, which we are so grateful for.’

Katy revealed witnesses to the accident thought she'd have Nathan's life support turned off

Stapleton - seen with son Harry before the accident - is working on getting into an electric wheelchair

Katy (pictured left with Nathan) revealed witnesses to the accident thought she’d have her husband’s life support turned off

She revealed Stapleton is now concentrating on getting into an electric wheelchair and becoming accustomed to breathing with the ventilator, which doctors say he will now need to use for the rest of his life.

He went into cardiac arrest after breaking his neck in the match for the Boorowa Goldies rugby union club, with local nurse Louise McCabe stepping in to give him CPR straight after the horrific incident.

Stapleton scored 17 tries for Cronulla when he represented the Sharks from 2009 to 2014

Stapleton scored 17 tries for Cronulla when he represented the Sharks from 2009 to 2014

Stapleton was out for 16 minutes when he went into cardiac arrest straight after breaking his neck, with a local nurse saving his life by giving him CPR on the field

Stapleton was out for 16 minutes when he went into cardiac arrest straight after breaking his neck, with a local nurse saving his life by giving him CPR on the field

Katy said doctors expected her husband to suffer severe brain damage because he was out for 16 minutes but she could tell that wasn’t the case because she knew he recognised her as soon as they locked eyes afterwards.

‘When it first happened everyone that was there when it happened assumed I was going to Sydney to turn off his life support,’ she said.

‘I definitely do feel like I saved his life, I acknowledge that I saved his life and medical professionals have given me credit,’ McCabe said.

‘Katy rang me and thanked me for what I did and she said the doctors had said if we didn’t start early CPR, Nathan wouldn’t be here today.

‘I’m very overwhelmed and I’ve had Nathan’s family reach out to me again to thank me.’

An appeal has been put together on crowdfunding website GoFundMe for the Stapleton family with over $166,000 raised.

If you’d like to donate, you can do so here



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