Seriously injured while playing for the Cabramatta Two Blues in the Sydney Shield last season, former Sharks junior rep and NYC player Kurt Drysdale continues his long road to recovery.
Drysdale suffered a spinal injury almost 12 months ago and has since been in Royal North Shore Hospital receiving around the clock care.
Despite his situation Drysdale remains a lover of rugby league and a staunch supporter of the game and he is set to be at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Sunday as a special guest at the Sharks versus Panthers clash.
A long list of his NRL heroes and personalities including Andrew Johns, Brad Fittler and the ‘Big Marn’ Daryl Brohman have found time to visit Drysdale at Royal North Shore Hospital in a bid to lift his spirits and keep him positive as his recovery and rehabilitation continues.
Drysdale, who also played at Endeavour Sports High School and includes schoolmates Alex Johnson of the Rabbits and Shaun Lane, now with the Warriors, amongst his closest friends, will join a gathering of former Sharks greats at the annual past players’ reunion.
Following the reunion Kurt will address the clubs’ corporate function prior to the kick off to the main game, before joining the former players on field for a lap of honour which is scheduled to take place at half time of the NRL match.
The visit to the Sharks and the game this weekend will be Drysdale’s first at Southern Cross Group Stadium since he was injured on June 7 last year in what appeared at the time to be an innocuous tackle.
He has maintained a positive outlook and has been making slow progress in his recovery, with one breakthrough moment last October seeing him speak for the first time since his accident.
In the coming weeks Drysdale will also reach another milestone in his rehabilitation when he is officially discharged from Royal North Shore Hospital, his home for the past 11 months.
With his family house in Stanwell Tops being reconstructed to accommodate his wheelchair and being tailored to address his needs, Drysdale will be relocated to a local area hospital while the builders put the finishing touches on the home rebuild.
In the meantime, the Sharks are thrilled to have the opportunity to host Drysdale, his carers and family on Sunday.
With on-going costs including his medical bills, a purpose-built van to transport Kurt and his wheelchair, not to mention the home rebuild, fundraising initiatives are continuing.
Just a few weeks ago former Sharks stars Brett Kimmorley and Ben Ross were joined by Bulldog James Graham, music and dance group Justice Crew and a room full of family, friends and supporters at the ‘Bring Kurt Home’ function held at the Helensburgh Tradies Club.
To see some photos and stories from the ‘Bring Home Kurt’ night, to find out more about Kurt’s progress and for information about any future fundraising events go to the SmallStepsForKurt Facebook page.