A college rugby player was paralyzed in his team’s national title win, but the response will inspire you
It was supposed to be everything a player at one of the nation’s top college rugby programs dreams of — a shot at the national championship.
But the dream ended in tragedy for University of California sophomore Robert Paylor. He was paralyzed after a hit in the first minutes of a game that Cal went on to win.
Now an online crowdfunding campaign seeks to raise money for Paylor’s medical treatment, while his teammates and coaches say they won’t leave his side.
Details about Paylor’s injury and the hit that caused it have not yet been revealed. But his family released a statement offering some information on Tuesday, three days after Saturday’s national title game.
“Robert is currently working on stabilizing his condition so he can start rehabilitation,” that statement read. “The injury paralyzed his lower body with limited motion in his arms. This will be a long and difficult journey for Robert and his outcome is uncertain.”
To help with the costs of that “long and difficult journey,” a teammate’s mother and family friend started a crowdfunding campaign on the site GoFundMe to raise money for the Paylor family and Robert’s recovery. In two days, it’s raised more than $245,000 toward a goal of $1 million. About 1,500 people have donated so far, according to a GoFundMe rep.
“We are overwhelmed with the love and support we’ve received from people all over the country,” said the Paylor family statement released Tuesday.
According to comments left on the GoFundMe page, donations have come from a wide range of people — childhood friends, parents of other Cal athletes, strangers who’ve experiences spinal cord injuries, and more.
Saturday’s victory over Arkansas State, during which Paylor suffered the hit that caused his injury, was Cal’s 32nd national championship in rugby. But legendary Golden Bears coach Jack Clark said in a statement released by the school that the team is “devastated” by Paylor’s status.
“His challenges will be severe, long in duration and difficult beyond measure,” Clark said. “Our team intends to be there with him every bit of the way.”
To donate or learn more about the GoFundMe campaign to help Paylor, click here.