Chris Cairns speaks for the first time after emergency heart surgery

Former New Zealand allrounder Chris Cairns has shared his thoughts for the first time since having an emergency surgery following a major heart trouble. In a video he posted on Twitter, the 51-year-old mentioned he was “grateful to be here”, although it remains “a long, long road ahead”.

“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,” he said in the video message. “I had several surgeries and grafts, and very thankfully, the specialists were able to save the heart itself.”

Cairns had surgery in Canberra after a “major medical accident” 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 taken 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 paralyzed in his legs after suffering a stroke in his spine after surgery.

He further said in the video message, “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. “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.”

One of the most colourful characters in the New Zealand side, Chris Cairns transformed from something of a rebel to a more senior statesman, especially after the major part he played in ending the players’ strike in 2002. When at his best, he was one of the finest allrounders in the world, and he became only the sixth man to achieve an allrounder’s double of 200 wickets and 3000 runs in March 2004. 

Cairns announced his retirement from ODIs in January 2006 and played his last game for New Zealand the next month. He played 62 Tests and 215 ODIs for New Zealand between 1989 and 2006.


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