Miracle: Dad recovers from horror buck's night party prank
THERE was a time when Tim Cornthwaite feared he'd never be able to keep up with his young boys in the backyard.
Luca, four, and Theo, three, were nearly robbed of playing with their dad after he was caught up in a bucks party prank gone wrong.
Mr Cornthwaite was celebrating his last days as a bachelor when he cracked his vertebrae after diving off a seat into a baby pool while blindfolded at the Gold Coast party.
His broken neck had to be supported with a halo brace that had to be drilled into his skull.
So bad was the damage, doctors told the popular father-of-two it would be lucky if he could walk or run again.
Almost two years on, Luca and Theo have their dad back.
"I have full movement, no pain, back to full duties which is pretty amazing," Mr Cornthwaite said.
"Considering what happened and the aftermath, everything has come back nicely.
"They told me I'd never work again… I know they have to prepare for the worst but my mindset was to prove them wrong."
Little Luca and Theo are just glad to be able to kick a ball with their dad again.
"It is good to have fun with dad again. We can kick the soccer ball. We missed him when he had the brace on," the boys said.
"Not being able to lift up the kids and playing with them properly was tough. Them being so young, it was an important time," Mr Cornthwaite said.
"I remember the first day that I could pick them up again. I'd forgotten how heavy they were.
"It was pretty heartwarming being able to play with them again."
Five months after the accident, Mr Cornthwaite returned to work, on light duties in his concrete cutting job to start with. Now back to normal.
Mr Cornthwaite could only speculate where he would be without the support of his wife Chloe and his former club who rallied around him to raise thousands through funding.
"She was a massive part of my recovery, I was pretty stuffed without her," he said.
"I pretty much needed a full-time carer for me, plus look after the kids.
"I was off work for a fair while and being from New Zealand, I couldn't get Centrelink. We lived off the fundraiser from the boys, that was all we had.
"Without it we would have lost the house."
With Maroochydore Swans "getting the band back together" in big names returning from
Sunshine Coast Wanderers and rival clubs, Mr Cornthwaite is contemplating an unlikely comeback.
He just needs his wife's approval.
"I'd love to come back," he said.
"It would be great to get one more season in, the boys have a great squad and I think they can win it this year.
"I'm keen to get back into it but the wife has worries, so maybe not."