Alex McKinnon - Unbroken

Alex McKinnon - Unbroken

Rugby league was Alex McKinnon's life. Born into a football family, from five years old Alex played junior football with the Aberdeen Tigers at McKinnon Oval, a ground named after his grandfather.

A talented and committed young player, Alex was signed to the Dragons as a 16 year old and made his NRL debut at 19. Captaining the Junior Kangaroos, and having established himself as an NRL player at 22, Alex was clearly one of the leading players of his generation.

However in the 39th minute of the Newcastle Knights v Melbourne Storm game on March 24, 2015 Alex's life changed forever. A tackle gone wrong damaging his spinal cord leaving him paralysed from the chest down.

"I was playing the game that I loved. I was living the dream. Then the dream ended. It didn't end because I wanted it to. It ended because I got badly hurt," McKinnon said.

In the days that followed Alex was told not only was his football career over, but he would likely never walk again. Like any young person in this situation - let alone a professional athlete - this was devastating. Alex's life as he knew it was over.

The story of what followed, both privately and publicly, is simply extraordinary. Far from being over, Alex came to realise a new life had just begun. 

"Things like this can happen to all of us, in some shape or form. This is my story about what my dreams were looking like, how I was going to get them and live a happy life," he said.

"Now that the old dreams are gone, I'd like to tell you about what my new goals are.

"I am happy. I want to live a happy life and be the best man that I can possibly be."

For the first time Alex talks of his exact thoughts and feelings during the those first fateful moments on the field, and with raw honesty takes us through his painful first days and weeks in hospital, including the heartbreaking moment he is told the ramifications of his injury.

Those who know Alex best are not surprised at what happened next.

"My book, Unbroken, is my journey. There are stories of many great people who have made me who I am and many more who will make me the man that I will be," he said.

"I hope that some of my journey can guide, reinforce or uplift what you believe your life should look like."

To purchase a copy of Alex's book visit alexbook.com.au