Teenager's remarkable recovery

FOUR months ago, teenage basketball player Michael Holbrook was almost paralysed after breaking his neck in a freak fall during a match.Doctors, who operated around the clock to repair the damage, warned the 17-year-old he would not be able to play the sport for at least a year.

FOUR months ago, teenage basketball player Michael Holbrook was almost paralysed after breaking his neck in a freak fall during a match.

Doctors, who operated around the clock to repair the damage, warned the 17-year-old he would not be able to play the sport for at least a year.

But the former Kesgrave High School pupil's speedy recovery has stunned the medical world.

Michael, who is one of the Ipswich Tomcats' star players, built up his strength by swimming a few weeks after being released from hospital.


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The 6ft 8in player then began playing again in the park and at his home in Bucklesham Road, Ipswich, and was deemed strong enough to begin running a month ago.

During a recent hospital examination, doctors said he would probably be fit enough to re-launch his competitive basketball career in September.

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Michael said: “Originally they said it would take a year before I could play again. Now they're saying I should be fit for September. It feels a lot better. I'm glad I can start getting back to it.”

In February during a match for the Holbrook Eagles in the Ipswich and District Men's league the teenager seriously injured his neck after another player landed on him as he dived for the ball.

He was taken by ambulance to Ipswich Hospital but X-rays did not reveal the extent of the damage and he returned home.

But a week later, he experienced severe pain and felt his neck click. He returned to hospital to discover he had broken his neck and torn the ligaments.

Michael underwent two five-hour operations which involved fitting a metal plate from his fourth vertebrae to his sixth and screwing the back of the vertebrae together.

Michael has set his heart on a career as a professional basketball player and intends to join an academy next year.

He said his quick recovery would have been impossible without the support of his coach, Nick Drane, his fellow players, friends and family and wanted to thank them for being there.

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