Shane Brunner gets a huge Eels surprise

When Men of League Welfare Officers, Ben Ross, Norm Pounder and Ken Vessey first visited Shane Brunner on the 24 September 2015 at the Royal North Shore (RNS) Hospital, he was still recovering from surgery and still in the very early stages of fighting to recover. His injuries were serious, including a shattered spine, punctured lungs, broken collarbone and cheekbone, two fractured eye sockets and having his ribs severed from his spine.

(Left to right: Fred Jackson, Nathan Hindmarsh, Shane Brunner, Ben Ross, Norm Pounder) 

These injuries were incurred in a horrific motor cycle accident in the Kangaroo Valley, NSW and had rendered him a paraplegic. Shane had vowed that one day he would walk again. Shane lives in Toowoomba and is a fanatical Parramatta Eels supporter.
After the first Men of League visit, contact was maintained with Shane to check on his progress and on any needs the Men of League might be able to help with. On 4 November 2015 Ben Ross, Norm Pounder, Ken Vessey and Fred Jackson paid Shane another visit at RNS and were delighted to be told that Shane was well enough to be transferred to the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane for further treatment. In the last 7 weeks Shane had vigorously applied himself to his rehab and gym exercises to such an extent he was able to take himself around the Hospital’s grounds in his wheelchair.
Whilst being a long way from home, his dear Mum and his family had made numerous visits from Queensland to see him along with a great number of his Queensland friends, work mates, former rugby league team mates and Men of League colleagues. The number of visitors demonstrates the respect and high regard that Shane is held in.
Upon arrival on the 4 November, Welfare Officers were informed that Shane had experienced a bad night. Welfare Officers assured his Nurse that they had the best possible medicine to lift him – unbeknown to Shane they had with them his favourite Parramatta Eel’s player, Nathan Hindmarsh, a player that Shane idolised.

Welfare Officers advised that when they approached Shane he woke up and with a big grin on his face told them of his bad night and of his delight to see them again. After a few minutes Nathan walked into his room, approached him and asked how he was going. Well the look on Shane’s face was worth a million dollars as he expressed his sheer delight and pleasure that Nathan had come to see him!
Shane told Nathan that he had watched him play countless games and he admired him so much and on the day of his accident he was planning to go to Pirtek Stadium for the very first time. Shane stated again that he could not believe that Nathan had come to see him and he could not wait to tell his family and friends of this enormous event. He realised that the Men of League had arranged the visit and thanked all involved wholeheartedly for doing such a kind gesture.

(Nathan Hindmarsh and Shane Brunner)

There is no doubt Nathan certainly lifted Shane’s spirits and outlook and we thank him very much for being such a willing participant in this wonderful deed. We wish Shane a continued good recovery. Our Brisbane Men of League colleagues have been advised of his return to Brisbane in seven days and they certainly will visit him.
Shane could not thank the Men of League Foundation enough for their visits and their kindness and wished the Men of League continued success in the future.

Ken Vessey.

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