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Rugby League World Cup reporter's comeback after attack

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A journalist who suffered severe brain injuries and a fractured skull when he was attacked is back reporting on the sport he loves.Gary Carter, 38, from Manchester, was left fighting for his life after he was punched to the ground and hit his head on the pavement.After six weeks in a coma, he woke unable to speak or walk.But now, two years after the attack, Gary is covering the Rugby League World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.With the help of his wife Gemma, the freelance reporter is back interviewing the game’s top names for the national press.On Saturday he covered England v Tonga in the semi-final in Auckland, which England won 18-20.

Gary told the BBC: “I have taken massive steps forwards. I remember waking up and I couldn’t move or talk or anything. “I literally had to learn to walk all over again. I couldn’t put one foot in front of the other.”Secondary infections meant Gary also suffered a cardiac arrest and respiratory failure.He shed six-and-a-half stone in less than two months as he began the long recovery process.After a gruelling physiotherapy regime, Gary is able to walk again.He still struggles walking down steps and gets frustrated with his mobility, saying “it takes ages to do stuff”.

He cannot go out on his own any more but luckily has the support of his wife Gemma, 36.Gemma gave up her job as social worker to become Gary’s full-time carer and now accompanies him to matches.The reporter said he owes her everything.”She makes sure I’m all right every day and comes to the games with me to make sure I’m sorted.”I am definitely very lucky to have had the people around me that I have,” he said.

Gary, from Stalybridge, Tameside, was in London in November 2015 to cover a test match between England and New Zealand.He was having a drink alone at the Star of Bethnal Green pub, where James Flanagan was with friends and his nephew.When their paths crossed outside the pub, Flanagan punched him on the left side of his face, hitting him in the eye. Gary fell and hit his head on the floor.Flanagan, 37, of Marsden Street, Kentish Town, north London, received a two-year jail sentence, after pleading guilty to grievous bodily harm.Sentencing, the judge said the attack was a “cowardly and vicious assault”.

Despite everything he has been through, Gary is not bitter about his experience.He added: “I am one of those people, I suppose. I don’t really let anything bother me.”I just feel like I am as near to normal as I will ever be. I am really, really lucky.”
Source: Derby BBC