Kurt Drysdale – One of the strongest and toughest kids you’ll ever know

Throughout Australia on any given Sunday our nation’s young aspiring rugby league players of all ages take to the fields and give their best efforts as they strive for success and hopefully advancement to higher levels in the NRL world. This was the case when a 20 year old young man by the name of Kurt Drysdale, an aspiring young Hooker, took to the field on the 7 June 2015 with his team mates in the Cabramatta Rugby Leagues Club team participating in the Sydney Shield Competition but regrettably in an innocuous looking tackle that went terribly wrong, Kurt was seriously injured.

Kurt was rushed to the Westmead Hospital, where scans confirmed the worst in that his C5 vertebrae had twisted and snapped as well as multiple other fractures. Without any delay he was airlifted to the Royal North Shore Hospital and rushed into surgery to insert plates and screws into his neck. Since that time Kurt has been attached to a respirator to assist his breathing and has been receiving extensive care by a team of dedicated and specialised medical staff for his horrific injuries, which have currently rendered him a quadriplegic.
Kurt commenced playing rugby league for the Cronulla-Caringbah JRLF Club, gaining selection in the Cronulla Sharks RLF Club’s Matthews Cup and SG Ball representative teams before representing the Cronulla Sharks RLF Club in the NRL Holden Cup under 20’s team. He was widely recognised as a talented player who would continue to advance to greater successes in rugby league.
On 21 August 2015 when Men of League State Welfare Manager Ben Ross and Northern Sydney Welfare Officers Norm Pounder, Fred Jackson and Ken Vessey called in to see Kurt. They were amazed by the courage and attitude displayed by him, considering the challenges he is facing. He conversed with us on a wide range of issues naturally including his team mates, rugby league and the varying NRL results in recent weeks. It became clearly apparent that Kurt has a strong, loving and supportive family comprising of his Mum – Sonya, Dad – Steve, Sister – Skye and Brother – Blake plus his many countless friends supporting him. They all have every reason to be intensely proud of Kurt as he faces his future and recovery with so much courage and determination.
It is in times of adversity that Australian sporting codes are renowned for binding together to assist and this is the case again with the broad Rugby League community, who have combined to assist Kurt in his road to recovery. Some of these organizations involved include the Cronulla Sharks RLF Club, NSWRL, Cabramatta Rugby Leagues Club, Wests Ashfield Leagues Club, Wentworthville Leagues Club, ”Unite for Kurt” Fund and the ”Small Steps for Kurt” Fund. In the future the Men of League Foundation will assess any assistance that can be provided to Kurt.
Kurt was presented with a Men of League Foundation polo shirt and cap and we wished him every future success and we plan to visit and stay in touch with Kurt.

Left to right Ken Vessey, Norm Pounder, Ben Ross, Kurt Drysdale and Fred Jackson

By Ken Vessey

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