Rugby Player Realises GB Dream After Losing his Fingers at Age of 8
When James Tindall severed his fingers in an horrific accident, he thought his dreams of becoming a rugby player had been shattered.
He fell off a bouncy castle when he was just-eight-years old and put his hand into the motor, shearing off two fingers on his right hand.
But a decade after an operation to transplant his toes onto his hand, he has overcome adversity and been selected to play rugby league for his country.
The 20-year-old – who has undergone a total of 43 agonising operations since the accident – will join the Great Britain amateur under 21s squad in Russia next month.
James, a gym instructor of Endike Lane, north Hull, has played the sport since he was seven, for Skirlaugh Bulls.
He said: "It is unbelievable. I have gone from one extreme to another.
" I have gone from being told by doctors I wouldn’t ever play again to playing for my country.
"I am over the moon. It still doesn’t feel real. Rugby is everything to me."
James still vividly recalls the moment when he lost his fingers, in the summer of 1998.
He said: "It all happened so fast. I got up and ran inside screaming that I didn’t want to lose my hand. I showed my mum my hand and she was hysterical.
"There was blood coming from all over."
Even as he was laid in hospital, James, who plays fullback, remembers worrying about his future career in rugby.
"The first thing I said to the doctor was that I didn’t want to lose my fingers because I wanted to still play rugby.
"They said that was a long way down the line and I kept saying ‘no, no, I will, I will."
In an emergency operation, doctors wired the bones together, then sewed James’s fingers into a pouch in his left armpit to allow new skin to grow on the joints.
Then, when he was 11, he underwent an extraordinary 15-and-a-half hour operation to remove two of his toes and attach them to his hand.
He spent his childhood in and out of hospital and suffered excruciating pain at times.
James said: "I was having constant reconstructive surgery.
"The amount of anaesthetic I had been given from all the operations meant it took two years to get out of my body, so I was tired all the time."
Despite undergoing surgery every few months until he was 19, James continued to play for Skirlaugh.
Then, earlier this year, he was spotted by talent scouts with the British Amateur Rugby League Association (BARLA), who invited him to the GB trials.
James and his teammate Scott Mountain sailed through the trials and fly out for the nine-day tour on June 24.
They will play three matches, including one in Moscow.