Worcester have shared a video of Michael Fatialofa on his return to Sixways five months after a serious spinal injury suffered in a Gallagher Premiership match at Saracens last January. The 27-year-old was met by a round of applause upon arriving at the Warriors’ home.

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There was also a banner saying “Welcome Back Fats” on what was the team’s return to training this week following rugby’s suspension as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The video – which already has in excess of 140,000 views on Twitter – is the latest instalment in the lock’s well-documented and remarkable recovery and he will continue his rehabilitation at Worcester after recently walking out of the hospital. 

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Fatialofa was driven to and from Sixways by flanker Matti Williams, a near-neighbour in Cheltenham, and he spent almost two hours at Sixways doing walking exercises on the pitch. “It was unbelievable seeing him again. With the lockdown, it’s been a while since I have been able to visit him, so it was great to see him face-to-face,” said scrum-half Jono Kitto.

“It’s just incredible to see how far he has come and how well he is doing. We have all been thinking about him, hoping and praying that he is recovering well. Obviously, he is. He will be stoked to be back home and in the next phase of his recovery. I’m so happy for him that he is progressing well and he is on the up.”

The New Zealander had been in hospital since January 4 after he suffered a C4 vertebrae fracture and a severe contusion of the spinal cord when appearing as a replacement at Allianz Park. He spent almost three weeks in intensive care in London before being transferred to the rehab unit at the Royal Buckinghamshire hospital in Aylesbury.

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Within eleven weeks, the lock was walking unaided having been paralysed from the neck down and he has continued to chronicle his recovery since then. Fatialofa is now continuing his rehabilitation at Sixways following his discharge from the specialist spinal injuries unit, rehab at the club that is being supervised by Worcester’s head of medical Ryan Kehoe.

A Worcester signing in 2018 from the Hurricanes, Fatialofa was set to move on to a French club when his Warriors contract expired at the end of June, but he will now stay local to the facilities at Sixways to continue his rehabilitation.

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