Alex McKinnon has begun the next stage of his recovery, leaving hospital for a spinal rehabilitation centre.
The 22-year-old was moved to Sydney’s Royal North Shore hospital in April after suffering a spinal injury in March.
In an interview on the Newcastle Knights website, McKinnon revealed his excitement at leaving hospital and that he has improved the use of the fingers in his right hand.
“I’ve just found out I’m going to a rehab centre, it’s the next step in the journey,” McKinnon said
“After three months I’m finally moving on.
“I’m really excited, it is obviously one step closer to going home which is something I’m really looking forward to.
“It’s something I really need to do.”
McKinnon has developed better use of his thumb and index finger on his right hand, which means he can hold a modified fork and drink bottle, or turn the pages of a newspaper.
“It’s been a month since we last spoke, within that month I have had a few hard times,” he said.
“The recovery has plateaued a little bit but I have really started to, not accept, but work with what I have got at the moment.
“The big goal is to have full function back but I will take each little win.
“It is a slow road but hopefully they can all come back soon enough
“I have come a long way but I still have a way to go.”
The NRL on Sunday announced the game’s governing body will make a $1 donation for every fan who attends any game in Round 19, dubbed the Rise for Alex round, to assist Alex McKinnon.
NRL boss Dave Smith said a RiseForAlex Fund has been established to provide ongoing medical and financial support for Alex.
“Wherever I go, people are moved by Alex’s spirit and determination and they want to do their bit to help him,” Smith said in a statement.
“The rugby league community has already offered Alex a job for life and we believe he has a huge contribution to make to our game.
“But now we are giving the fans a chance to show their support through the RiseForAlex round, and every supporter will be able to help him, just by turning up to see their team play.”