Sport

Martial artist Murray in biggest fight of his life after spinal injury

DANIA BOGLE Observer writer

Tuesday, February 05, 2013    

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CAPTAIN of Jamaica's Combined Martial Arts team Jason McKay says the national squad has suffered a major blow with the life-threatening injury to Jamaica's number two-ranked tae kwon do athlete Oshane Murray.

Murray, an engineering student at the University of Technology (UTech) and a member of the tertiary institution's cheerleading squad, suffered a major injury to his spine during practice at the Papine campus on Wednesday.

"He got injured doing a gymnastic manoeuvre at UTech," McKay explained.

Murray underwent surgery at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) a few days later but the prognosis suggests that the athlete, who won gold in the middle weight category at last November's International Sport Karate Association (ISKA) world championships in the Netherlands, could be in bad shape.

"His upper body has movement. His lower body is still numb," McKay said, adding that the next three months will be crucial.

"Some people recover, some people don't. There's a three-month time period you have to wait for post-surgery before you can really make up your mind," he said.

"The spine is affected so there is a period of time without movement. The doctors haven't said anything one way or the other. They said time will tell. What they have said is that there is injury to the spine and it doesn't really repair itself like that so there is an aspect of medical uncertainty regarding the ability to function."

McKay, who is Murray's manager, said the group had high hopes for the Calabar past student who has been practising martial arts since the age of 12.

"It is a terrible blow to the organisation. He is the ISKA world champion and we were looking forward to greater things. The ITF world championships coming up and he was supposed to fight. He was supposed to be the featured fighter at the ESPN night of champions and he was one of the main fighters fighting in Cuba in three weeks so he is expected be the core fighter."

"Outside of Kenneth (Edwards) he would be our top fighter, so from an organisation point of view, it would be a terrible blow. From his own point of view it would be even greater because he really was at his peak," said McKay.

Meanwhile, McKay said Murray, who is still a patient at the UHWI's Intensive Care Unit, was in good spirits despite his injury.

"He is cheerful and hopeful and he is optimistic of his own recovery and we are also optimistic."

Fortunately, the athlete is insured by UTech and has been spared the brunt of the major costs for the time being. "Thank God for that. So far, we really haven't had to pay out money or anything like that from his pocket. We don't know how after-care will work," he explained.

McKay is now looking forward to the progress Murray can make having survived his injury. "Now that we are inching away from mortal danger we are just focused on getting him walking. After we get him walking we can focus on what level of return and if he can get back to his former condition," McKay ended.

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