NZ cricket great paralysed after life-saving surgery

4 weeks ago 16
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* This article originally appeared on stuff.co.nz and is reproduced with permission

Chris Cairns faces a long road to recovery, with paralysis in his legs after suffering a stroke in his spine.

The former Black Caps allrounder has returned to Canberra where he lives, but remains in a serious condition after suffering complications following major heart surgery in Sydney.

Cairns suffered an aortic dissection, a major medical event which saw him transferred to Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital on life support earlier this month.

Chris Cairns (Getty)

A statement issued by Cairns' lawyer Aaron Lloyd on Friday confirmed the latest on his condition:

"During the life-saving emergency heart surgery Chris underwent in Sydney he suffered a stroke in his spine. This has resulted in paralysis in his legs," the statement said.

"As a result he will be undertaking a significant rehabilitation process at a specialist spinal hospital in Australia.

"Chris and his family remain appreciative of the immense public support as they deal with this difficult time.

Cairns was a mainstay in both New Zealand's Test and One Day sides throughout the 90s (Getty)

"They also appreciate the way in which their privacy has been respected.

"Chris and his family now want to focus on spending time together where possible and making whatever progress they can in his recovery. We will update everyone when there is more news, but that is likely to be some time away."

An aortic dissection is a serious condition in which a tear occurs in the inner layer of the body's main artery (aorta).

Chris Cairns. (Pat Scala)

Cairns' condition was described as "serious but stable" on August 11 on transfer to Sydney, then there was encouraging news last week that he was off life support and communicating with his family.

Cairns, the son of former test player Lance Cairns, played 62 tests and 215 one-day internationals for New Zealand between 1989 and 2006, and was named one of the Wisden Almanack's cricketers of the year in 2000 when at the peak of his powers.

He and wife Melanie live in Canberra and have two young children.

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