The Newcastle Knights have condemned a television report that claimed Alex McKinnon has been diagnosed as quadriplegic, saying it’s still too early to ascertain how much movement he will regain.
The NRL club released on a statement on Tuesday saying uncertainty remained about the extent of the young second rower’s recovery from the serious spinal injury suffered in a tackle last Monday and there had been no new developments.
“While Alex’s condition continues to improve, his body is in the first phase of recovery,” it said.
“As previously shared, he has movement in his right arm and the uncertainty remains in the extent of further recovery.
“The doctors explained any regeneration and recovery could be up to two years.
“The club is extremely disappointed in the sensationalised television news story on Monday night about this tragic situation.
“One of the most important factors for Alex at this time is hope, which was jeopardised by this report.”
The 22-year-old was brought out of an induced coma following surgery last Tuesday and has been conscious since.
He began communicating with his family on Sunday after his assisted ventilation was removed.
With McKinnon is still in a serious but stable condition, visits have been restricted – meaning only coach Wayne Bennett and not his Newcastle teammates were able to visit him on Monday.
The club said it planned to continue to provide factual updates in consultation with the player’s family during this delicate time.
In a joint statement, McKinnon’s parents Kate and Scott, as well as his partner Teigan Power, thanked the public and media for their ongoing support and concern.
“While there is a lot of detail being reported about Alex’s condition, it is important to remember that it is still early days for him post-injury,” the family said in a statement.
“Those close to Alex know he is strong, and that he is a fighter and, that alone, is reason to remain hopeful.”