VIDEO: UC Berkeley rugby player paralyzed during game showing improvement

Robert PaThis Sept. 9, 2016, photo provided by Cal Athletics shows University of California, Berkeley rugby player Robert Paylor in Berkeley, Calif. Paylor was partially paralyzed after being injured during the opening minutes of a national championship game. Cal’s rugby head coach Jack Clark said Tuesday, May 9, 2017, that the devastated team “intends to be there with him every bit of the way.” (Nathan Phillips/Cal Athletics via AP)ylor
This Sept. 9, 2016, photo provided by Cal Athletics shows University of California, Berkeley rugby player Robert Paylor in Berkeley, Calif. Paylor was partially paralyzed after being injured during the opening minutes of a national championship game. Cal’s rugby head coach Jack Clark said Tuesday, May 9, 2017, that the devastated team “intends to be there with him every bit of the way.” (Nathan Phillips/Cal Athletics via AP)

 

BERKELEY (KRON) — KRON4 has an update on the devastating story of a UC Berkeley rugby player partially paralyzed earlier this month during his team’s championship game in the South Bay.

Robert Paylor has remained at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center since the injury.

“Ever since seeing Robert laying lifeless on the field, we’ve come from being broken to having hope,” father Jeff Paylor said.

A photo taken Tuesday of 20-year-old Robert Paylor shows he will forever be proud to be a Cal Bear.

His father Jeff says his son is strong.

“He’s taking it…like a Warrior,” Jeff said.

Earlier this month, Robert suffered a major injury to his spinal cord.

The sophomore starter on Cal Berkeley’s rugby team was hurt during his squad’s championship game against Arkansas State in Santa Clara.

Dr. Stephen McKeena says Robert was taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center where he underwent surgery for an incomplete spinal injury. That means he still has complete sensation throughout his spine.

He has some ability to move his biceps, wrists, and toes, but not yet his hands.

“The fact that having those early interventions, Roberts has sensation in his toes, is an excellent sign that…his care…is getting him to the best possible level of function he can achieve,” Dr. McKeena said.

The hope is that Robert will begin rehab later this week.

And Dr. McKeena says it’s not out of the question that one day he’ll be able to walk again.

“We’ve seen patients who’ve had…spinal cord injuries from gymnastics events which would have similar mechanisms,” Dr. McKeena said. “Within months, sometimes they can move their toes in a very fortunate situation, sometimes those patients can walk.”

Robert has a strong support system, including his rugby coach, Jack Clark.

“He’s a very good rugby player, and he’s a better teammate,” Clark said.

Robert’s father is close by his son’s side as well, prepared for what undoubtedly will be a long road to recovery.

“Just knowing I can be a part of that…work with him….I’m ready to go too,” Jeff said.

Robert is a champion after all.

His team claimed the title for their determined teammate on the mend.

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