Swimming pool accident teenager Craig Nurse elated to be back on his feet
A FOOTBALL-mad teenager who broke his neck diving into a swimming pool is back on his feet after doctors feared he might never walk again.
Craig Nurse, 19, suffered the injury at a villa in Murcia, southern Spain, on July 21, 2011 – but is now dreaming of being a football coach.
He had to be hauled out of the pool by Jack Withey and Louis Ross, who played at Mangotsfield United with him.
Craig was taken to Arrixaca General Hospital and, after initial complications, underwent a five-hour operation before being flown back to Frenchay Hospital on August 6.
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Since that time it has been a long and difficult road for Craig but with the support of medics, his mum Diane; grandmother Margaret Watt, 77; and brother Alan, 20, he has emerged the other side a man living live to the full.
Once out of his wheelchair his mobility has continued to improve and after initial wobbles Craig, of Eastville, was soon able to walk confidently and even jog 100 metres.
Earlier this year he returned both to Saint Brendan's Sixth Form College in Brislington and his work part-time at Tesco Mobile in Eastville, adding an element of normality to his life.
He was soon going out again with his mates enjoying what most 19-year-olds do on a weekend and in August went on holiday, to Cyprus, for the first time since the accident.
The only thing missing was his beloved football – now he is able to carefully kick a ball around with mates but is aware of his limitations.
But instead of pining after his prolific playing days Craig has decided he wants to coach the game instead.
He told The Post: "I have come a long way. Going to Cyprus on the plane was a bit weird because of what happened last time.
"There was a swimming pool and I certainly didn't dive in but I did enjoy a swim and even swam in the sea.
"Luckily I used to do a lot of swimming and thank goodness I haven't been put off.
"We also went to Ayia Napa so I had a good time living it up."
Craig says he is now much more confident than he was after his accident.
"I am far more confident and I am not put off doing anything," he said.
"I was scared at first at first but things like going back to college and work helped me.
"Now I don't feel like there is anything I can't do anymore.
"I love football. Unfortunately, I can't run after the ball anymore.
"Now I am looking at coaching. I spoke to my old manager and he said he would be happy for me to come and help out.
"I need to go about getting myself a car and a coaching badge."