Posted at: 05/09/2013 5:50 PM
By: Benita Zahn
It's been said; rugby is a ruffian's game played by gentlemen.
For 27 years Michael ‘Jonsey’ Jones, a guy from Albany's south end, played that game. Nowadays the gentlemen he called team mates are still by his side.
“Oh, it's good for you when you're having bad days.”
On Feb. 27, 2010 Jonesy as they all call him, suffered a broken neck during a game in Florida. This one time powerhouse on the field - now, quadriplegic
“I was on a respirator and they were pretty much saying, that was it.”
But 9 and a half months hospitalized and in a nursing home and he was able to come home, in large part, thanks to his former teammates. A nucleus of them show up twice a week to do what they call, the Jonesy lift - it's part of his rehab.
“It used to be we'd have our hands on him constantly. Now, he's there,” said Dave.
So much of what Jonesy needs to continue improving isn't covered by insurance. Like this arm support - helping to strengthen his arm muscles - movements he couldn't do a few months ago.
“He's making improvements but it's, it could be a lifetime of issues and we know a lifetime is along time of need.”
So these guys also fund raise. The Jonesy Open Golf Tournament has netted $175,000 for the Michael Jones Trust fund.
For equipment, health aides and eventually, to cover the cost for Jonesy to go to a specialized rehab center - something he's put off because he doesn't want to be separated from his daughter and wife, Lisa.
Until then, he's reaching out to others.
“If I can do anything it's to help other people know that it's not the end of the line,” he said.
“Rugby becomes a family. (Becomes a life and uh, you don't know how much you love the guys until tragedy sets in. And so, while it was tragedy it's not longer tragedy. What Jonesy's got, it's the hand he's got, dealing with it's,) I think like any family you step in and you do what you gotta do.”
And for these guys that means coming by to jaw and joke, just like the days when they were all playing.
The game may be different and the stakes higher - but they they're still working to help Jonesy reach a goal.
“Go on a hike with my daughter and my family. My wife and my daughter, yeah. “