Owen Williams: Injured Cardiff Blues player sitting up

Owen Williams
Owen Williams made his senior debut against Japan in June 2013

Cardiff Blues centre Owen Williams is sitting up and spending time out of hospital as he continues his recovery from a serious spinal injury.

Williams suffered a "significant injury" to his cervical vertebrae and spinal cord while playing in a tournament in Singapore in June.

The 22-year-old is being treated in Cardiff's Rookwood Hospital, and Blues say he is making "progress".

Williams is also using the hospital's gym for "upper limb rehabilitation".

Owen Williams and dog
Owen Williams was visited by his dog Riley in Cardiff's Rookwood hospital

The four-cap Wales international was injured in the first half of the Blues' 26-17 defeat by Asia Pacific Dragons in the third-place play-off of the World Club 10s.

He was initially treated in Singapore before being transferred by air ambulance back to Wales and then onto the Welsh Spinal Injuries and Neurological Rehabilitation Unit in early July.

The Blues statement said: "Owen is now tolerating periods of time sitting up in a wheelchair, allowing him the chance to spend short periods of time outside the hospital."

After the former Aberdare RFC player was injured, a social media campaign was launched using the hashtag StayStrongForOws, which received support from around the world.

The Blues said more than 14,000 #StayStrongForOws wristbands have been sold to raise money for Williams.

"It remains very early in his recovery, but support for the #StayStrongForOws campaign worldwide has been a huge inspiration for Owen, his family and friends," the statement said.

Fellow Blues centre Cory Allen said the region will be playing for their injured team-mate.

"Owen Williams is Superman and to see him not be his big, fit, healthy self is tough," the 22-year-old said.

"The support he's had is absolutely unbelievable right across every sport; it's humbling to see support like that.

"It really does give him a big boost - everybody is behind him and hopefully he can make a good recovery.

"This season, it's going to be in everyone of the boys' minds every game and it will be a season [where] just everything is for him."

Blues start their Pro12 campaign at Zebre on Sunday, 7 September at 16:00 BST.

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