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Julian Huxley's incredible comeback after brain tumour forced him to quit

BY Grant Constable  ·  Monday Apr 5, 2010

Julian Huxley's incredible comeback after brain tumour forced him to quit

Julian Huxley made a remarkable comeback for the Brumbies in the Super 14 last weekend, just two years after he took a knock to the head that left him convulsing on the floor against the Reds. Routine scans later revealed that he had a brain tumour, placing both his life, and his rugby career, under threat.

It was March 2008 when we first reported on the story, which has now become something of sporting legend. Huxley has made a full recovery, and actually took to the field against the Chiefs in Canberra just 11 minutes into the match.

His shock return to the game has baffled fans around the world, many of whom will remember the moment they first heard about the incident and the news that the Wallaby back would have to quit the game immediately to undergo surgery for the life threatening ailment.

The benign tumour was removed, with chemotherapy and a lot of hard work following that, but Huxley was determined to stare into the eyes of his own mortality. He refused to give up despite many accepting that his rugby career was over at the age of 28.

“It was something I always thought I could do but didn’t know if it would happen,” Huxley said.

“There were certainly a lot of people who said, ‘maybe it’s time to move on’ but it was never based around any sort of fact with regards to the safety of it.

“Life’s too short to worry too much about the future and you have to do what you want to do today, within reason.”

He only received clearance to play three weeks ago, and after two good performances for the Brumbies reserves sides, is now back in the mix with top flight rugby.

While his return was anything but flash, he had a solid game and all things considered, it was incredible to see him out there playing again.

“It’s always harder, a bit more nerve-racking to come off the bench, not knowing when you will. It is better to run out,” Huxley said.

“Once you get out there you are fine and you get your first touch, but it was surprising to get on that early. It felt pretty normal. It’s funny. I didn’t know what to expect, but I guess the old pathways click in and it felt like I was doing what I’ve always done. It was surprisingly comfortable out there,” he added.

The mother of all comebacks continues next weekend as Huxley will start for the Brumbies when they meet the Cheetahs in round nine. He is expected to be selected at fullback, with Adam Ashley-Cooper moving to the wing to accommodate him.

This clip takes you through the moment of Huxleys return, has a bit of him in action, and then includes an interview with the humble man as he talks about his return, somehow managing to downplay the significance of his return.

Time: 04:40
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