Doctors have confirmed that Phil Keinzley’s mobility – and probably his life – had been hanging by a thread for a very long time.
An MRI scan at Wellington Hospital this week, following the Wairarapa United coach’s car crash injury on May 9, revealed he had unwittingly been living with a potentially fatal neck injury.
Yesterday, the Wellington specialist caring for Mr Keinzley told him he was astonished that he was not a quadriplegic.
Only a tiny part of his spinal cord in the damaged part of his neck remains intact.
“It is far worse than we first thought,” Mr Keinzley said.
“The specialist said the results showed I was almost a quadriplegic before the car crash and the crash should have finished it off.
“He simply can’t believe I haven’t got serious physical health problems,” he said.
Mr Keinzley said when he saw the damage for himself he was “staggered” to think he was still alive.
“I have suffered a lot of concussion over the years from playing football and if the crash hadn’t shown up what I had wrong with my neck a simple fall could have killed me.” Mr Keinzley has to undergo a barrage of further tests and as soon as the results of those are known he will be booked for an operation.
Even though he appears to have had a near miraculous escape, Mr Keinzley said he was not out of the woods yet.
“There is a small risk that the operation could render me a quadriplegic anyway.”
But he is not dwelling on that slim possibility and is planning a speedy return to work and football.
“I should be back at work fairly soon after the operation,” Mr Keinzley said.