By Jessica Sier
After suffering a stroke two weeks ago, former Wallaby Michael Lynagh has publically thanked staff of the Brisbane Royal Women’s Hospital for the care he received there.
Lynagh has been left with some eye damage, but says he is lucky to be alive.
London-based Lynagh credited his speedy recovery to the overwhelming amount of support and care he received during his stay at the RBWH.
“If you’re going to have a stroke, have it here,” he said.
Lynagh’s neurosurgeon, Dr Rob Henderson, said they narrowly avoided having to operate on the rugby great’s skull to relieve brian swelling.
“The back part of the right side of his brain has had a stroke, affecting that left side of his vision. Another artery was blocked off that controls a really important part of your balance and information centre,” he said.
The 48-year-old former fly-half had been having a quiet beer with friends when he laughed and then choked on his beer.
After opening his eyes, Lynagh realised he couldn’t see anything but moving light.
“I tried to shake my head, but it got worse,” he said.
Lynagh was taken to the hospital immediately where Dr Henderson diagnosed a severe stroke.
He remained in the ICU for almost a week, where he was monitored continuously.
When asked what the worst case scenario was for Lynagh, Dr Henderson replied: “We’ve seen people before not make it from that type of stroke. The worst case scenario was that he wouldn’t survive.”
“Physically I’m fine,” Lynagh said.
“I’ve lost quite a bit of sight. My actual eyes are fine, but my brain has been damaged in certain places. About 45 per cent of my sight to the left I don’t have.
“I’m hopeful over time that will improve. Already I see quite a bit of difference.”
Lynagh is a little unsteady on his feet and will not be able to drive for some time, however he is determined to slowly but surely learn to negotiate through traffic and crowds again.
Wife Isabella and their three children have remained in London during the ordeal.
He said it was important for them to remain in their routine, and that he has had great support from his parents, the community, fans and friends here in Australia.
Lynagh will stay in Brisbane for the next two or three weeks, under instructions to rest.
Lynagh tweeted his thanks to his supporters yesterday.
Lynagh was a valued player throughout the mid 1980s to 1990s for the Wallabies.
He played 72 test matches and retired to London in 1995.
Dr Henderson said there was no evidence that Lynagh’s rugby career prompted the stroke.