Recovered Student Rejoins Football Team as Coach Following Spinal Cord Injury

Spine Injury

In a tragic turn of events last December, University of Bristol student Archie Wills-Johnson suffered a severe injury that brought an abrupt halt to his promising American football career. During a match with his team, the Bristol Barracuda, Archie felt a debilitating “electric shock” sensation down his right arm, the cause of which turned out to be a herniated disk. The injury, which resulted from the cartilage between his vertebrae compressing his spinal cord, posed a high risk of paralysis if Archie continued engaging in contact sports.

The biology student’s passion for the game was evident as he played up to 20 hours per week prior to the life-altering injury. Yet, despite this setback and the chronic pain he endured, he did not let his circumstances sideline him from the sport he loved or his university club. After being discharged from the hospital just days before Christmas, Archie took on a new role within the team. With determination, he rejoined the Bristol Barracuda, not as a player, but as a coach and team manager.

Archie’s unwavering commitment to his team was further evidenced by his return to the sport in a coaching capacity. He assisted the team with technique training and contributed toward the development of the squad, which has a strength of 60 members.

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