Teen who feared he’d never walk again aims to finish Highland trek


By Kirsty Topping


A TEEN who broke his neck during a rugby match is on target to complete a 96-mile walk today (sun).

Conner Docherty feared he’s never walk again following the accident three years ago, but now looks set to complete the last leg of his week-long trek of the West Highland Way.

The Paisley teenager was just 16 when he suffered the injury while playing rugby for his school, St Aloysius College.

He went to tackle his opposite number on opposing side, Edinburgh Academy, and ended up breaking three bones in his neck.

Despite fearing he might never regain movement below his neck, Connor underwent hundreds of hours of physiotherapy and can now walk several miles with the aid of one crutch.

The Strathclyde university student then planned the walk to raise money for the Murrayfield Centenary Fund, which supports rugby players who have suffered spinal injury.

Connor is also walking in memory of Scottish Rugby Union boss Bill Hogg, who was a constant source of support to Conner and who died suddenly earlier this year.

Following his accident Connor had more than 11 hours of surgery to repair his damaged bones.

The fourth, fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae were fused together using titanium and a graft was taken from his hip bone.

Despite being told he was unlikely to regain movement below his shoulders, Conner gradually began to regain sensation, then one day he realised he could move one of his toes.

Six months after the accident he walked out of hospital on crutches. His charity walk was suggested by his current physiotherapist, 25-year-old Eilidh Dorrian, last Septamber.

While it’s unlikely he will be able to return to the rugby pitch, Connor has set himself new goals.

He said:

“I’d like to try cycling and swimming again and I’m looking to join a gym with my friends. “

To make a donation to Conner, visit www.justgiving.com/Eiligh-Dorrian.