Man’s ‘slipped disc’ from lifting weights turned out to be a cancerous tumour

Marie Claire Dorking

Marie Claire Dorking

·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK

Wed, 24 August 2022 at 11:36 am

A man who thought he’d slipped a disc deadlifting a 300kg weight was shocked to discover his back pain was actually a tumour, caused by a rare form of cancer.

Brandon Hackett, 20, from Barnsley, was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma – a rare type of cancer that occurs in the bones or in the soft tissue surrounding bones – last year.

Following his diagnosis, Hackett was left paralysed from the waist down and forced to learn to walk again.

Thankfully, however, he is now cancer free and back in the gym.

Hackett, then 19, first noticed he was experiencing back pain in July 2021, while training for a weightlifting competition.

After visiting his doctor, he was told it was likely tight muscles and started undergoing physiotherapy.

However the pain continued and spread into his stomach.

Brandon Hackett thought he'd slipped a disc but it turned out to be a tumour, caused by a rare form of cancer. (Brandon Hackett/SWNS)
Brandon Hackett thought he’d slipped a disc but it turned out to be a tumour, caused by a rare form of cancer. (Brandon Hackett/SWNS)

Later, while walking home from a shift at work, he began to experience tingling sensations down his legs.

He visited the doctor again where he was told it could be sciatica.

Despite his discomfort Hackett went to Leeds festival in August 2021 and noticed his legs were feeling weak on the Saturday, before waking up on the Sunday and struggling to walk.

When he returned home from the festival, he collapsed in his bedroom.

A trip to the hospital was inconclusive and he was eventually sent home, where he collapsed again, before returning to the hospital, this time needing to use a Zimmer frame.

Tests revealed something was compressing his spine and he was transferred to Sheffield Hospital, by which time he couldn’t even stand up.

Hackett first started suffering from pain in his back while training for a weightlifting competition. (Brandon Hackett/SWNS)
Hackett first started suffering from pain in his back while training for a weightlifting competition. (Brandon Hackett/SWNS)

After emergency decompression surgery, he gradually began to regain minimal movement in his legs and was eventually diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma.

Thankfully the cancer hadn’t spread and treatment began in October 2021.

“I just thought it was sciatica because I was doing 300kg deadlifts at the gym,” Hackett explains. “I didn’t know if I’d slipped a disc.

“When I collapsed, I didn’t know what was going on.

“I’m quite a chilled-out person so I wasn’t really too worried, but I was confused and thought ‘this is not normal’.

“It was really scary and weird with a tingling sensation that didn’t go away, every time I tried to move it was like my whole body was getting electrocuted.

“It felt like my legs were cemented to the floor and I couldn’t even move my toes.

“I was wondering if I would ever be able to walk again.

“I couldn’t even think about anything else.”

Hackett in hospital being treated for cancer. (Brandon Hackett/SWNS)
Hackett in hospital being treated for cancer. (Brandon Hackett/SWNS)

Following chemotherapy, Hackett slowly began to regain movement and started trying to teach himself to walk again.

“I had to spend an entire week lying on my back to reduce swelling in my spinal cord, so it was a relief when I started to get movement back towards the end of the week,” he said.

It took Hackett six months to regain all movement in his legs and he had to learn to walk again using aids including a Zimmer frame.

It took six months for Hackett to learn to walk again. (Brandon Hackett/SWNS)
It took six months for Hackett to learn to walk again. (Brandon Hackett/SWNS)

“I’ve gone from having to use a Zimmer frame to just using a stick on my own as I didn’t want to wait for physiotherapy.

“I’ve only really just started physio but I can walk without any help, I just take a stick in case I lose my balance.”

Hackett is now back in the gym and cancer free. (Brandon Hackett/SWNS)
Hackett is now back in the gym and cancer free. (Brandon Hackett/SWNS)

Hackett has since been told he should make a full recovery – and has even started visiting the gym again.

“The tumour is gone now and scans have come back all clear – I’m back in the gym again too.”

Following his recovery Hackett is now hoping to become a personal trainer.

Additional reporting SWNS.

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