Rugby league-NRL offers McKinnon 'job for life'

MELBOURNE, April 30 Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:18pm EDT

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MELBOURNE, April 30 (Reuters) - Australia's National Rugby League has pledged a "job for life" for Newcastle Knights forward Alex McKinnon, whose neck was broken in a match last month.

The 22-year-old suffered the sickening injury against Melbourne Storm on March 24 after being dumped heavily into the turf in a lifting tackle by three opposition players.

One of the tacklers was banned for seven matches by the NRL.

McKinnon, restricted to a wheelchair, watched his team mates at a match last week and said he had recovered movement in his arms and experienced feeling in his legs.

"His spirit and determination are an inspiration for all of us," NRL chief executive Dave Smith said in a media release on Wednesday.

"The NRL would be honoured if Alex wanted to channel that spirit into a career in our game and the offer is on the table - for life."

The NRL had also set up a special foundation to fund the player's recovery, and had dedicated a "Rise for Alex" round of the championship season starting July 18 to focus fund-raising activities.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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