Pic: Fox Sports
Former Newcastle Knight Alex McKinnon says he's now moved on and forgiven, after the devastating tackle in 2014 that left him a wheelchair bound quadriplegic.
Speaking with Fox League's "League Life", McKinnon admitted he suffered, initially, with built-up hate, anger and frustration over the situation.
Much of that anger was directed at Melbourne Storm, the player involved in the fateful tackle Jordan McLean, and team skipper Cameron Smith.
McKinnon says the anger came to a head in 2015, when he appeared in a 60 Minutes interview slamming Smith.
“It was at a time where I’d gone back to Newcastle and I kind of wasn’t doing anything,” McKinnon said.
“Sitting back that night and watching the 60 Minutes program, I just didn’t like the way I looked. It just wasn’t me."
“I actually apologised to Cameron about how things were handled."
“I was always saying ‘why me’ and I needed to move on from that. It was at that point I really did forgive the people who tackled me.
“I’ve felt like a new person ever since that time.”
The 'new' McKinnon is also one who has forgiven Storm prop Jordan McLean.
“I understand he never went into that game to hurt me."
“I watch football and I see him on TV and it’s just something that’s unique that he would’ve gone through as well."
“I cannot understand or know what he’s gone through personally, but it’s definitely something that’s crossed my mind, that I’d like to sit down with him and have a different conversation.”
McKinnon also spoke about his initial goal, which was to walk girlfriend-turned-fiance Teigan Power down the aisle on their wedding day.
“I’ll definitely be standing at the wedding and that’s something I’m really excited about."
“As it stands today, I probably won’t be talking Teigan down the isle, but in the future it’s something I will still set a goal for, maybe it’s kids or something else."
McKinnon now considers himself lucky.
“My recovery is still improving which is, you say surprising. A lot of people with spinal cord injuries don’t continue to improve three years down the track,”
“I would obviously like to be in a better position. I’d like to be walking and running around and all that stuff, but it is what it is. I’m grateful that I am improving."