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Caracella’s wife feared worst

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BLAKE Caracella’s wife has told of her relief that her husband had not suffered permanent spinal damage after his collision with Lion Tim Notting on Saturday night.

Jackie Caracella last night remained by her husband’s side at The Alfred Hospital.

It was confirmed yesterday the Magpies forward had suffered a fractured neck and heavy bruising of his spinal cord. He will have to wear a neck brace for the next six weeks, but is expected to make a full recovery.

“It’s a massive relief,” Jackie said. “I was going through all the different scenarios and one was he could be in traction and another was that he could have an operation.

“But when we got the results it was probably the best-case scenario out of all that they put to us.

“They said there wasn’t any permanent damage. He was having a lot of pain, so that’s a good sign. He knew he would be able to walk and talk again.

“But the head neurosurgeon reiterated that it was still a severe spinal injury that we are dealing with.”

Jackie, who is due to give birth at the end of the month, said she had feared the worst.

“You just get home and you sit there and you think, `What if?’,” she said.

“The doctor had said if it had been anyone else they would have been a quadriplegic. You go home and you process it and you think, `How lucky are we?’ Everything else is so insignificant, really.”

She said Caracella was in good spirits.

“He’s very philosophical about how lucky he is,” she said. “But we’ve said take it very easy for the next six weeks and we’ll go from there.”

Collingwood club doctor Paul Blackman said Caracella’s conditioning as a professional footballer might have saved him from becoming a quadriplegic.

Blackman said Caracella had come “quite close” to becoming paralysed.

“I think if it had been a person who wasn’t a professional athlete, the risk (of Quadriplegia) would have been significantly higher,” he said.

“The neurosurgeon made a comment that, as an athlete, he has a well-developed musculature of his upper body and neck relative to anyone in the general population.

“If he didn’t have that, the injury could have been much more catastrophic.”

Spinal bruising has left Caracella with pain and tingling in his arms and hands, which Blackman said was subsiding.

He was yesterday able to sit up in bed and get up briefly to go to the bathroom.

But the doctor said it was too early to suggest when, or if, Caracella would be able to return to playing football.

“The long-term scenario is that he will make a full recovery,” Blackman said. “How long that will take remains to be seen. Any decision on return to play or activity with sport is inappropriate at the moment.

“We really won’t have any further comment on that until at least six weeks when he comes out of the brace.”

Herald Sun

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