Why I Play: Chris Hall
Posted: Tuesday 27th July 2021 - 7:00 PM
Castleford Tigers PDRL player Chris Hall sat down with Castleford Tigers Foundation as the first participant in their ‘Why I Play’ series to share his incredible journey.
Chris began his playing career in the Fords’ academy before moving to local rivals Wakefield where he made his professional debut and began by explaining that it was his father who ignited his love for the sport.
“I was introduced to Rugby League by my father at the young age of seven,” Hall stated.
“He used to bring me down to The Jungle and I think my first game was back in 1989 and from my first ever game of watching Rugby League, all I ever wanted to be was a professional Rugby League player. Having started playing at the age of eleven, just a few years later I had the privilege of signing for Castleford.
“I had some offers from some big clubs but to sign for the team you grew up watching, it was living that dream I had as a youngster. It’s indescribable to be honest and it’s a lasting memory that I will take with me to my grave.”
To watch the full interview with Chris, please click here.
Chris’ life was turned upside down in March 2012, when after being in an altercation with opposition players in a pre-season friendly, he collapsed and was rushed to hospital with a bleed on the brain.
He was given a 20 per-cent chance of survival as he remained in a critical condition, but Chris miraculously pulled through and regained consciousness.
The Tigers PDRL player then talked through that day which would change his life forever.
“20 minutes into what was supposed to be a pre-season friendly, after being involved in two altercations I felt forced to leave the field as I had a business to run on the Monday. I wanted to play rugby, not to get involved in everything that was going off.
“10 minutes after leaving the field was my last recollection of the game but supposedly, I was conscious for a further 20 minutes before I suffered a seizure and collapsed on the clubhouse floor. Having been rushed over to the hospital with what was just supposedly a broken jaw, because I had a lot of blood coming from my mouth.
“The doctors tried to settle me down for a CT scan but apparently I was really agitated at the time, so they had to call in my late Mum to try and calm me down. However, she had no joy and when she left the room, they started to realise that the injuries were a lot worse than they initially thought and that I had got a severe head injury.
“They decided to take me in another ambulance to Leeds where I was induced into a coma and was put on the operating table. By the time I was operated on I had three and a half inches of internal bleeding and my head was like a balloon as I had a bleed and blood clot on the brain.
“I was cut from the front of my head all the way down to my right ear to relieve the pressure and drain the blood. I had 48 staples in my head to hold the wound back together.
“I actually passed twice on the operating table and my parents were told that I had a 1 in 5 chance of pulling through. I beat myself up every day for that, I didn’t cause that, but I put myself on that rugby field.”
After coming out of hospital Chris had to learn to walk and talk again, so his road to recovery has been a long and difficult one. He outlined just how much the Rugby League community rallied around him to help him through such a tough time.
“The Rugby League family is what we call it. Everyone pulled away from their own lives and chipped in to see me at the hospital and at home. It was a massive part of my recovery because after I came out of ICU I lost a lot of my motor functions so even brushing my teeth was a struggle and I actually spiralled into depression.
“That group of Rugby League family and friends pulling me through and getting together for regular visits. Just getting that contact so I didn’t ever feel isolated and alone having gone from years of being with 30 lads training on a day-to-day basis to being on my own in my room just with my dog.”
Along with being a member of the Fords’ PDRL side, Chris is a big part of the State of Mind charity which uses the power of sport to promote mental wellbeing and fitness.
He uses his remarkable story to inspire others and finished off by putting forward how rewarding it is to help others in need.
“Fortunately, through a chance meeting I became involved with the State of Mind charity, and it really gave me the tools to go on and rebuild my life. I have gone on to help others as well and I have had individuals say to me that through talking about my background and story, there are wife’s who still have their husbands and children who still have a father.
“There is nothing more rewarding than that and it’s amazing that with any adversity you are faced with you can turn it around and use it as a positive thing to then help others. To potentially think that I have saved someone’s life through the experiences I have been through is incredible.”
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