• Bay club rugby player flown to Christchurch with spinal injury

Bay club rugby player flown to Christchurch with spinal injury

The Hawke's Bay Rugby Union is working with the New Zealand Rugby Foundation to support a senior player and his family after the player suffered a spinal injury during a division three club game on Friday night.

Hawke's Bay App staff have been aware of the injury since the match but opted not to publish any details until the player's Napier Old Boys Marist club was ready. The Hawke's Bay union issued a short release today stating it was supporting the player and family and club chairman Terry Gittings said he was happy with the release.

Union chief executive Jay Campbell said that the union was not naming the player at the family's request.

The release said: "The extent of the player's injury remains unclear, and his family have requested privacy as he recovers from surgery at Christchurch Hospital."

The Lowe Corporation Hawke's Bay Rescue Helicopter Service airlifted the player from Napier's Park Island to Christchurch. Spectators at the game said the player fell awkwardly while trying to evade a tackle in the match won 47-17 by Maraenui.

The Rugby Foundation was formed in 1986 by All Black and Hawke's Bay rugby great Kel Tremain and transport industry pioneer, Hawke's Bay philanthropist Sir Russell Pettigrew to "assist areas of rugby in need."

It now works to ensure the message of safety first is front of mind for all rugby players, alongside the comprehensive support the foundation provides to all seriously injured rugby players, financially and emotionally, for life.

The Foundation coordinates and provides immediate and more long-term support to seriously injured players, in tandem with the clinical care provided by the New Zealand medical system and the ACC.