Win Ed Jackson’s inspirational book Lucky

Lucky is Ed Jackson’s story of how he overcame a devastating injury to find a new purpose and fulfilment in life. In charting his miraculous recovery, he provides inspiration to anyone who doubts that even the grimmest of situations can be turned round.

Read a review of the book here.

At the bottom of this article, we’re offering you a chance to win one of six copies of Lucky in a competition. First, by way of a taster, here’s an extract from the book concerning Jackson’s first-team debut for Bath at the age of 19 in 2008. It came in an EDF Energy Cup tie against Leicester Tigers at the Recreation Ground…

Win Ed Jackson's inspirational book Lucky

Jackson during his first shot at climbing the 4,000m Gran Paradiso in Italy. Bad weather foiled the attempt

“With only 20 minutes until the end of the match, I could honestly say I’d done pretty well,” writes Ed Jackson. “Sixty minutes of hard, physical work had made getting quickly off the ground more difficult.

When I next pulled myself up, my attention was drawn to Alesana Tuilagi, who was heading straight for me. Nineteen stone of pure muscle and one of the most powerful players in the Premiership. He stared straight at me as he quickened his pace. I turned towards him, braced myself for the impact and drove into his legs.

I opened my eyes. All I could see was the grey, tumultuous sky.

The edges of my vision were hazy and my head rang, blocking out all other noise.

‘Ed.’ A woman’s voice broke through. ‘Can you hear me?’

‘Hummm,’ was all I could manage.

‘I don’t want you to move. Don’t even nod.’

‘I’m ‘kay…’

‘You might think you’re okay but you gave us a scare. You’ve been out for a while.’

Bath v Leicester 2008

Alesana Tuilagi wreaks havoc in Bath’s defence during the 2008 tie that left its mark on Jackson (Getty)

I blinked rapidly to try and clear my vision. It was only then that I realised I was lying in the middle of the rugby pitch with 12,000 people staring down at me.

‘Can you move your left hand?’ a man said.

I squeezed it around his fingers.

‘What about your right hand?’

I gave that one a squeeze too.

Remembering my dad, I imagined him standing up in his seat, peering down at me. He would be worrying about whether I was still unconscious. He wouldn’t be able to see from that far away that I was awake and following the doctor’s instructions not to move. Christ, he’ll be worried, I thought.

‘And push down on my hand with the other foot.’

I followed his instructions, desperate to get up so I could show Dad that I was okay.

‘All right, it seems there was no damage,’ he concluded. ‘But that’s you done for the day.’

The doctor and the physio offered me their hands to help me stand. The crowd clapped as I wobbled to my feet. I tried to smile and wave at them as I made my way over to the entrance of the tunnel.

You f**ked it up…

I was devastated, it had hardly been the dream start.

Ed Jackson

A portrait of Jackson whilst on a training walk near his house at Timsbury, Somerset in 2019 (Tom Jenkins)

The following Monday, I sat quietly as I waited for the defence coach to meet with me. That morning I’d dressed as smartly as my rugby kit would allow and tried to plaster down my unruly hair. I wanted to look my best when I received my P45; I thought it would help when my pride took a battering.

As I waited outside the coach’s office, I wondered if this was the shortest rugby career in history. No, there must have been someone who’d messed things up in the first half of their opening match. It didn’t make me feel any better.

‘Come in, Ed,’ the defence coach said, opening his office door. I followed him inside and took a seat opposite.

‘I need to talk to you about Saturday.’ I nodded, unable to form any words.

‘I’ve got the recording so we can watch it over together.’

Ed Jackson book cover

Great, my humiliation would be complete. I watched in silence as the figure on the screen braced for Tuilagi. It wasn’t pretty.

‘I’ve also got a few other clips for you to watch as well.’

He pressed another button and I watched three other matches, taken at different times and places. Each one featured Tuilagi.

‘He regularly does this,’ the coach said.

We carried on watching the matches. In each clip he showed me, whomever Tuilagi charged at effectively got out of his way.

‘What matters,’ the coach continued, ‘is that you tried. You stuck your head in when lots of other players shy away.’

‘So I’m not fired then?’ I asked.

The coach gave me a broad smile. ‘No. Not this time’.”

NOW ENTER OUR COMPETITION TO WIN THE BOOK OR BUY IT HERE

Lucky by Ed Jackson is published by HQ, RRP £20. It comes highly recommended.

Click here to buy Lucky.

We also have six copies to give away, courtesy of HQ. For a chance to win Ed Jackson’s inspirational book Lucky, answer the question below and fill in your details. The competition closes on Friday 19 November.

Win Ed Jackson's inspirational book Lucky

Jackson makes a tackle during his 2008 Bath debut – but who is the Leicester ball-carrier? (Getty Images)