The legendary NRL coach now paralyzed after a sickening accident while bodysurfing on a Central Coast beach: ‘I was dragged out of the water without reacting’
- Daniel Anderson is a paraplegic after a horror surfing accident
- Ex-NRL coach is now rebuilding his life and body
- Anderson still works for Roosters while in rehab
Former NRL coach Daniel Anderson has spoken out for the first time after being involved in a freak bodysurfing accident that nearly killed him.
The former New Zealand Warriors and Parramatta Eels boss was bodysurfing on Soldiers Beach near Norah Head on a family holiday when disaster struck out of the blue.
The 56-year-old was dumped on his head by a wave and suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury.
He soon went into cardiac arrest and had to be dragged out of the surf, semi-conscious.
The father of four was lucky that a few off-duty paramedics happened to be on the beach that day — and he was quickly airlifted to the Royal North Shore Hospital Spinal Unit.
Daniel Anderson has spoken out for the first time after being involved in a freak bodysurfing accident that nearly killed him in December
The 56-year-old was dumped on his head by a wave and suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury
Anderson says he’s lucky to be alive, and doesn’t remember the accident at all.
“I was dragged unconscious from the water and then went into cardiac arrest,” Anderson said News Corp.
“I was very lucky that the paramedics were there. I was clearly in bad shape. If they weren’t there, who knows how it would have turned out.’
It was later revealed that Anderson had severe spinal cord compression.
“I was classified as an incompletely paralyzed person,” Anderson said. ‘Incomplete means you get little bits back, but some things never.
“No one can tell you categorically what, if you get any movement back. But after four days I was wiggling my big toe.
‘Right now I need help with everything, brushing my teeth, feeding, taking a bath, drinking coffee.
“I have a slight movement in my right hand. Just enough to gently shake hands.
“Three weeks ago I couldn’t. It’s progress.’
Anderson was classified as incomplete quadriplegic upon arrival at the hospital
Anderson, who coached the Warriors and the Eels to the NRL Grand Final, says the first few weeks were very hard for him and his family.
“You can’t compare this predicament to the pressure of coaching. But the mental strength you need to have in difficult times in football helps,” he said.
‘This is much more difficult. But you have to get a grip on the situation. You have to try to move forward and take on challenge by challenge.’
Anderson now works out in the gym for two hours a day – trying to learn to use his muscles again and perform simple tasks.
Anderson now works out in the gym for two hours a day – trying to learn to use his muscles again and perform simple tasks. He hopes to be back in his parental home in eight weeks
His goal is to be back home with his family in eight weeks.
Incredibly, Anderson still works for the Sydney Roosters as head of recruiting – about 10 hours a week from the rehabilitation center.
“I’m still talking to the agents and Robbo wants me back in the office,” he said.
“I love the job and they’ve been a great support.”
However, Anderson is careful not to push himself too hard. He knows that some things take time.
“It’s important that I don’t overdo it and keep focusing on my physical recovery,” he said.
“The roosters are so good at that, knowing I have to make myself healthier.
“I just know I still have a little life left in me in rugby league.”