Ed Jackson is continuing to motivate others after he was recognised with Rugby’s Inspiration of the Year Award at the Crabbie’s National Rugby Awards.
The Bath-born former player picked up the award at a ceremony held at Twickenham Stadium alongside 12 other award-winners on the night.
Jackson was a professional player for ten years, representing Bath, London Welsh, Wasps and Dragons, before breaking his neck in a devastating accident last year.
The 29-year-old has been fighting back to fitness ever since and recently climbed Snowdon just 12 months after receiving serious spinal damage.
Jackson commented: “They’ve very kindly awarded me with the inspiration of the year which was a complete surprise.
“I know some of the guys organising the event and they asked me to come down, we all support club rugby and grassroots rugby but to be given an award is special, they kept that quiet!
“It’s a lovely surprise after a crazy year and to have a room of people on their feet clapping I still find completely bizarre considering what’s been going on.
“I played professionally for ten years and I’m lucky to have that but in April last year I broke my neck, I got a spinal injury diving into the wrong end of a swimming pool.
“I was laid up with no movement from the shoulders for five weeks, ended up in a wheelchair for nine months but fortunately with the work of a lot of people I’m now back on my feet.”
The Crabbie’s National Rugby Awards celebrate the best of English rugby from grassroots to the very pinnacle of the game – and were created in 2015 with former England captain Chris Robshaw playing a major part.
Former Millfield School student Jackson will not play rugby again, but there is no more deserving a recipient of the award, with the Bath man now throwing himself into charity work.
He added: “I’m now spending time with others and trying to motivate others that they can do a similar thing, there’s opportunity in adversity and you can overcome obstacles.
“I’m keeping involved in rugby, coming to events like this and it’s great for me because I can’t play anymore but playing isn’t the only thing about rugby, it’s a full community.
“I climbed Mount Snowdon on the 12-month mark, I wanted to challenge myself and set an example for other people.
“Now I’ve got the bug and I want to go higher and further, I’ve joined Restart Rugby – the Rugby Players Association charity and I’m going to climb a 10,000ft mountain in the Alps.
“Then I’m off to Nepal in October to do some work with another charity, I’ve got opportunities and it’s great to take advantage of them.”
Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer passionately supports rugby at all levels. The brand returns as the Headline Sponsor for the 2018 National Rugby Awards after partnering with the event for the first time in 2016.