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Home / Sports / Grateful Cairns gearing up for ‘greatest challenge’ after heart surgery

Grateful Cairns gearing up for ‘greatest challenge’ after heart surgery

The 51-year-old former cricketer had collapsed last month after suffering a massive heart attack, resulting in an aortic dissection
Chris Cairns

Agencies   |   Canberra   |   Published 20.09.21, 02:43 AM

Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns on Sunday said the spinal stroke he suffered following a life-saving heart surgery last month will provide him “with possibly the greatest challenge I’ve ever faced in rehab going forward”.

The 51-year-old former cricketer had collapsed last month after suffering a massive heart attack, resulting in an aortic dissection. Aortic dissection is a serious condition in which a tear happens in the inner layer of the body’s main artery (aorta).

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Cairns had surgery in Canberra in August but the seriousness of his condition required him to be transferred to St Vincent’s in Sydney for another operation.

He was soon off life support following the surgery, and was even “able to communicate with his family from hospital in Sydney”, as quoted by his lawyer Aaron Lloyd. But just days later, he was left paralysed in his legs after suffering a stroke in his spine after surgery.

“Just about six weeks ago I suffered a Type A aortic dissection which essentially means there’s a tear in one of my arteries of the heart,” Cairns said in a video message posted on his social media.

“I had several surgeries and grafts, and very 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,” he said.

One of the best all-rounders of his time, Cairns, who played 62 Tests, 215 ODIs and two T20Is for New Zealand between 1989 and 2006, thanked the doctors and nurses for saving his life.            

“A long road ahead, but I’m grateful to be here.                Huge thanks to the team here at Canberra Hospital, to St Vincent’s in Sydney, the surgeons, the doctors, the nurses, the specialists — you saved my life.

“Thanks also to all the well wishes that have been sent through to Mel, my wife, and I. Uplifting, humbling and so, so special,” Cairns said.

The son of Black Cap legend Lance Cairns, Chris was a right-hand batsman and fast-medium bowler.

Cairns was a key figure in the Black Caps’ 2-1 series win in England in 1999, and their only 50-over world title in the ICC Knockout Trophy in Kenya in 2000.

He has been living and working in Canberra with his wife Melanie and their children for several years.

Cairns had to rebuild his life after walking out of Southwark Crown Court in London in 2015 after being found not guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice charges in relation to match-fixing allegations.



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