Sports

​The Football Player, The Spinal Injury, And The Law Suit: Alex McKinnon vs The NRL

Here's some real talk on the Alex McKinnon vs NRL vs Jordan Mclean lawsuit.
December 20, 2016, 3:50am

Former Newcastle Knights National Rugby League (NRL) player, Alex McKinnon, who was made a quadriplegic after a tackle gone wrong in a 2014 match, has announced he will sue both the NRL and the player involved, Melbourne Storm's Jordan Mclean.

Reports suggest McKinnon will need up to $AUD20 million to lead a normal life. He has been paid $AUD750k by the Knights to honour the remainder of his contract as well as a reported $1.5 million given to him via fundraising efforts.

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The Rugby League Players Association has thrown their support behind Alex's decision.

"Alex has the right to pursue any and all legal options available to him in relation to his injury and it is appropriate that he has engaged his own legal representatives to assist him," the RLPA said in a statement."

While leading player and captain of the Cronulla Sharks and NSW Origin team, Paul Gallen, told the Daily Telegraph he believed the move will "open up a can of worms."

"If you're allowed to do it, if you are actually allowed to sue someone for getting injured on a rugby league field, it will open up a real can of worms," he said adding.

"I don't think any player ever goes out there to intentionally harm or intentionally maim an opponent.

The night McKinnon was injured was without doubt the darkest in the 20 plus years I've played and spectated this game. I happened to be in the front bar of the Berry Pub, in the rugby league heartland of the NSW south coast, when it happened. I set my beer down halfway through it and never returned. It was literally sickening to watch. The tackle itself was bizarre and awkward and something that had never existed in the game until a few years ago when the Melbourne Storm introduced wrestling tactics in their bid to slow the play the ball down.

While being held by two players with a combined weight well over 200 kilograms, McKinnon had his leg pulled by Storm forward Jordan Mclean tipping him onto his head, which disappeared on an impossible angle between the three Melbourne giants and the turf. There was only one outcome at that point. The expression Alex wore in the moments after the impact, as he mouthed the words, 'I can't feel my legs,' will never be erased from memory.