Cairns paralysed after suffering stroke during heart surgery that saved his life

By Sports Desk August 27, 2021

Chris Cairns has been left paralysed after suffering a stroke in his spine while the New Zealand cricket great underwent heart surgery.

Cairns had surgery in Canberra after a "major medical event" earlier this month and was transferred to St Vincent's in Sydney for another cardiovascular operation.

The 51-year-old was reported to have suffered an aortic dissection – a tear in the body's main artery – that put his life at risk.

Now he faces a battle to walk again after his lawyer, Aaron Lloyd, announced the latest setback to affect former all-rounder Cairns.

Lloyd said in a statement reported by New Zealand media: "During the life-saving emergency heart surgery Chris underwent in Sydney he suffered a stroke in his spine. This has resulted in paralysis in his legs.

"As a result he will be undertaking a significant rehabilitation process at a specialist spinal hospital in Australia.

"Chris and his family remain appreciative of the immense public support as they deal with this difficult time. They also appreciate the way in which their privacy has been respected.

"Chris and his family now want to focus on spending time together where possible and making whatever progress they can in his recovery. We will update everyone when there is more news, but that is likely to be some time away."

A previous statement from Lloyd said Cairns was off life support and able to communicate with family.

Cairns has been moved back from Sydney to Canberra for continuing treatment.

Between 1989 and 2006, Cairns played 62 Tests, 215 ODIs and two Twenty20 games for the Black Caps. His father Lance also played cricket for New Zealand.

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