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Chris Cairns faces ‘long road to recovery’ after spinal stroke and heart surgery

·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA</span>
Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA

Chris Cairns has said he faces a “long road to recovery” after suffering a spinal stroke following emergency heart surgery last month.

The former New Zealand cricketer posted a video on Twitter on Sunday with an update on his condition. Cairns has been left paralysed in both legs by the stroke, and was briefly placed on life support in August after suffering complications during heart surgery.

“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. “I had several surgeries and grafts, and 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,” Cairns added.

Related: Former New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns off life support after heart surgery

“Huge thanks to the team here in Canberra and in Sydney: to the surgeons, the doctors, the nurses, the specialists – you saved my life. Thanks also [for] all the well-wishes that have been sent to my wife, Mel, and I. A long road ahead, but I’m grateful to be here.”

The 51-year-old initially underwent surgery in Canberra for the aortic dissection before being moved to Sydney for further treatment. He has lived in the Australian capital with his wife and children for several years.

Cairns played 62 Tests, 215 one-day internationals and two Twenty20 matches for New Zealand between 1989-2006. His father Lance also played cricket for New Zealand.

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