This post deals with suicidal ideation and might be triggering for some readers.
In front of a crowded stadium, alongside his Newcastle Knights teammates, Alex McKinnon was caught in a tackle that would change his life forever.
The angle and impact of the lifting tackle hit him with a spinal cord injury that would see him live out his days in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic.
Alex knew the second it happened that serious damage was done, but he was "too embarrassed" to tell his partner and his mother.
"I suppose it takes you back to being a man, you’re your identity is there: Strong, unfathomable, unwavering. I just felt that it was embarrassing that I was laying there unable to move. I just felt like a real failure," Alex shared on ABC's One Plus One in December last year.
Watch Alex McKinnon's interview on One Plus One, where he discusses the tackle that changed his life. Post continues after video.
Following days of unconsciousness and an impending diagnosis, Alex lost himself.
"I felt at that point when I was laying there that I wasn’t a human, I was more of an object. It’s something which I’d really struggled with post being injured," Alex told interviewer Stan Grant.
"It sounds really weird, but when people start to treat your injury and the effect that an injury like that can have on your life and how it consumes you, you start to identify yourself with that injury and not myself, Alex McKinnon," he said.
"So on that night, that was a really clear reflection, an image that I can still see to this day, of a female standing over me, pricking my body, trying to assess me, not talking to me. It was a really weird feeling."