The family of Robert Paylor, a Californian rugby player whose neck was broken during a match earlier this year, have released footage of the incident on social media following a World Rugby review into the tragedy.
The family released the footage after they say they were disappointed in the outcome of a USA rugby investigation into the circumstances of the injury, which found that no further sanction was needed in the case.
The secondrow was involved in a maul which collapsed. As the footage shows as the maul collapses the player’s neck is tucked downwards due to the bind of an opposition player, and the weight of the collapsing maul comes down on his neck.
Robert underwent surgery but five months on is now classed as a tetraplegic, meaning the 20-year-old is paralyzed below the chest and has limited motion in his arms.
USA Rugby requested an independent World Rugby Certified Citing Commissioner review the Robert Paylor incident to determine if further discipline was necessary under the regulations of World Rugby.
According to USA Rugby: “After a lengthy, yet protocol focused period, the citing commissioner determined the incident to involve a reckless play, but not involving a “large amount of force” on the behalf of Arkansas State.
“The World Rugby certified review concludes, “Photographic evidence shows prior to the collapse there is less visible evidence of muscle strain (an indication of active attempt to pull down on the neck) than when both players are moving down as the maul collapses…In addition, given the constant position of the elbow in relation to the head, there appears to be no torquing motion applied to the neck.”
Paylor’s parents have stated this week.
“Our son is not going to benefit from any change in safety measures or investigation, his days of playing rugby are over,” his parents wrote. “Our focus from the beginning has been toward the future safety of rugby players. Ideally, this incident should serve the sport as education and coaching opportunities as a living example of why players should not engage in foul play.”
While Paylor had a certain level of health insurance, it did not cover the costs in an injury of this severity, and so the family continue to fundraise to raise the money for his ongoing care. You can donate to his fund here.
CBS Sacramento covered the story back in May.