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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 August 2006, 17:42 GMT 18:42 UK
Injured rugby star returns home
Matt Hampson in hospital
Hampson was given a labrador puppy as a welcome home present
Paralysed Leicester Tigers player Matt Hampson has returned home after 17 months in hospital.

The promising prop was paralysed from the neck down when a scrum collapsed while he was training with England's Under-21 team in March 2005.

"It's great to be back home. I'm local now, so my mates can just pop over whenever," he told the club's website.

"The Leicester lads have been really supportive so hopefully they will visit when they get a chance."

The 21-year-old, who was at Stoke Mandeville hospital's spinal unit, was greeted by family, friends, Leicester colleagues as well as the press upon his return to Rutland.

We're all ready - it's just a case of final touches now
Anne Hampson, mother

"It's fantastic to have him home," said his mother Anne. "Originally we were told six months, and it's been 17, so it's just what we've been waiting for.

"They'll be no more constant long journeys to Stoke Mandeville, which is obviously pleasing as it was a long old trek. It's good to have him back here with us, so it's a new beginning really."

He has undergone intense therapy to help him live as independent a life as possible and Anne is hopeful that he will quickly adapt to being back home.

"We're all ready - it's just a case of final touches now," she added. "Once he's settled in, I'm sure Matt will see things that need changing, but for now, we're just going to enjoy it."

Mr Hampson's supporters say it will cost about 250,000 a year to pay for the care he now needs.

Tigers stage Hampson fundraiser
16 May 06 |  English
Hampson continuing his recovery
05 Apr 06 |  English
Funds raised for paralysed player
11 Dec 05 |  Leicestershire
Players donate 10,000 to Hampson
12 Aug 05 |  English

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