A FORMER professional rugby star who was told he would never walk again after a horror swimming pool accident has hit the top of the bestseller lists with his inspirational story of triumph over adversity.
Ed Jackson reveals in his new book Lucky how he fought back from being paralysed in April 2017 to summit the Blorenge above Abergavenny, before going on to climb the likes of Snowdon and raise thousands of pounds for charity.The former Newport Gwent Dragon No 8 - who did the Three Peaks of Sugar Loaf, Skirrid and Blorenge the year before his accident - has also built a new career on TV, as rugby reporter for Channel 4’s live coverage of the Champions Cup, with his own highlights show ’The Big Tackle", while he also headed to Tokyo last summer as one of the key presenters of The Paralympic Games.Ed - who was helped in his recovery by a £2,500 donation by Usk Cricket Club, who hold an annual charity match with the Dragons - suffered a serious spinal injury when he hit his head on the bottom diving into a friend’s pool.Luckily, his father - a retired GB - was able to pull him out and save him from drowning, but he had to be resuscitated three times in the ambulance on his way to hospital and couldn’t move a muscle for the first week.But lying in his hospital bed, he slowly regained some minor movement in his right arm, fingers and toes and started posting positive Instagram messages, which was the catalyst for him to push himself to the limits to stand and walk again.He drew strength from knowing he had already survived the tragic loss of best friend and former teammate Tom Maynard, the Glamorgan cricketer, who he attended Millfield School with. And Ed said: "Writing became a solace for me following my accident, it helped me unravel my thoughts and work my way through a seemingly impossible time in my life."The last four years haven’t just taught me how to survive, they’ve taught me how to thrive and the things I’ve learnt now benefit me on a daily basis."I wanted to share my story as a way of spreading hope. Hope that no matter what happens to us we can always find a way, we just need to know how and where to look."His book, released in August, has already hit the Sunday Times bestseller list, with TV trainer Joe Wicks saying: "’What a story and what an inspirational human. Ed is a total legend."After summiting the Blorenge with wife Lois and supporters just seven months after his accident, in an arduous three and a half climb, he then went on to scale Mount Snowdon before climbing one of the tallest mountains in Nepal to help fund a spinal unit in Kathmandu. He also led other former professionals on the Restart Rugby Alpine Challenge to climb Mount Buet in the Alps, raising money for players suffering from serious injury, illness or hardshipLast year during lockdown, he even climbed the equivalent of Everest on his parents’ stairs, taking 89,056 steps and 2,783 trips up and down, and raising more than £36,000 for the Wings For Life charity, which conducts spinal cord research, and the NHS.Incredibly, despite saying he now walks "a bit like Quasimodo", Ed says he wouldn’t change a thing about his life."I wouldn’t change any of it. Without that ten-second incident, my life would not be as it is now," he reveals."Through my accident I found purpose and that is what everyone needs to lead a fulfilled life; not riches, power, an able body or an exceptional mind."The perspective I had gained from nearly losing everything, and the satisfaction I got from helping others, led me to accept and even embrace my injuries and their outcome."I hope others will take courage from my story and apply it to their own lives."Everyone has their own mountains to climb in life. Sometimes you find yourself stood at the bottom facing up at the seemingly impossible and a lot of the time you can’t even see the end."Don’t give up. Put one foot in front of the other and start walking. Don’t worry where you’ve been or how far you have to go, just keep going."It will all make sense when you see the view from the top."*Lucky by Ed Jackson is published by HQ, an imprint of HarperCollins, priced £20.