Thursday 18 July 2019

'I remember one or two punches ... and then AJ picked me up off the floor' - Curtis Pritchard returns to DWTS next week

Curtis Pritchard and dance partner Holly Carpenter
Curtis Pritchard and dance partner Holly Carpenter
AJ and Curtis Pritchard speaking on This Morning
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Professional dancer Curtis Pritchard has said he was in the best shape of his life before he was attacked in a nightclub and left with torn knee cartilage, which ruled him out of the first few weeks of RTE's Dancing with the Stars.

Curtis had been paired with contestant Holly Carpenter, who was voted off the show last week.

Today he told The Ryan Tubridy show that he was attacked by eight to ten people and couldn’t walk immediately after the incident which happened in a Cheshire club in the UK on December 27.

"I remember gaining consciousness and I couldn’t walk,” he explained.

“I don’t want to go into too much of the detail... it’s unwanted memories... it’s just a shame that people can do things like that. It’s young kids that have this mindset that they don’t necessarily think about the consequences of their actions... I’m only coming back now and I should have been dancing with Holly Carpenter for a month.”

The dancer, who admitted that his legs are his world, had to have the meniscus removed in his knee and underwent rehab afterwards. 

Curtis Pritchard and dance partner Holly Carpenter
Curtis Pritchard and dance partner Holly Carpenter

“I remember one or two punches ... and then AJ picked me up off the floor... My brother had me under his arm. People were saying ‘your face, your face’, but I said ‘my face is fine but I can’t walk.”

“A knee is quite a major area when it comes to my expertise.”

“It happened with the click of a finger – that fast. I remember AJ picking me up and trying to get out of that situation and help me hobble off and get to safety.”

“Luckily, touch wood nothing had happened [to my face and head] except for a lot of swelling. I had got a lot of knocks... and [my face] had blown up, I couldn’t see out of [my eye].”

AJ and Curtis Pritchard speaking on This Morning
AJ and Curtis Pritchard speaking on This Morning

“Obviously I had to have an operation to remove the meniscus... I had a flipped cartilage and then basically keyhole surgery.”

Pritchard, who sometimes experiences flashbacks to the incident, said random attacks are all too common, and people often don’t survive them.

“For the whole experience of it, it could have been a lot worse, I could not be dancing/ could not be walking.”

“It’s a disturbing thing to know that this does happen everywhere and it has to stop... In some situations, the case is, some people don’t come out of it.”

But he added: “We’re a very positive family so we turn everything into a positive situation... All it’s done is bring the family a lot closer, and it’s made me learn a lot of new exercises to help my legs in future, so thank you.”

Pritchard maintains that Holly was marked harshly last week before she was voted off, and he will now return to Dancing With the Stars to dance with the pro-dancers next week.

“I was in the best shape of my life, I was ready to come back fighting... she was a lovely lady, we got on very well together.”

“It is a shame, and I do believe the marks were a little bit low on Holly’s behalf.”

“I have watched the dances since I’ve come back and Holly did fantastic.”

The professional dancer said he doesn't think about his attackers, and he is focusing on moving on with his life.

“I haven’t given [the attackers] a thought, they mean nothing to me, they’re not going to affect me in any single way, they’re not going to affect the family, because then they’ve won.”

He added: “I’m just literally rehabbing every single day... I’m going to do it for the rest of my life... a lot of band work, a lot of glute activation work... it’s all stuff to strengthen up around the knee to ensure that no incident will ever happen again.”

He added: “I’ve learned from everything - from the incident, from the whole situation of what happened there, Holly getting knocked out – life works in a very peculiar way... but you can create a positive in any situation.”

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