Approximately two-and-a-half weeks after sophomore Robert Paylor’s on-field injury during the first half of the Rugby 15s championship, a press conference was hosted at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center regarding Paylor’s condition.
Speaking at the press conference were Robert Paylor’s father, Jeff Paylor, head coach Jack Clark and chief physician Dr. Stephen McKenna, the latter of which provided insight regarding the current state of the sophomore.
McKenna stated that Paylor’s injury is what is referred to as an “incomplete spinal cord injury” as opposed to a “complete spinal cord injury.” According to the physician, an incomplete injury has the potential for natural recovery and that with these types of injuries, there is a “sensation” that goes through the entire spinal cord, implying that Paylor has some degree of health in his spinal cord that allows signals from the very bottom of his spinal cord to travel all the way up to his brain.
McKenna also stated, however, that Paylor currently does not have signals going from his brain to his muscles.
“We will continue to do neurological exams to identify the baseline where Robert’s starting and on an ongoing basis the type of muscle strength he’s getting back,” McKenna said. “Specifically, we’d be interested in seeing how the functions in his hands recovers; that’s one of the most important areas for becoming independent and being able to do things like go to school without support systems.”
McKenna cited one of the problems patients face with the type of treatment Paylor is undergoing is that it is very individual in the sense that the level of improvement depends on Paylor’s efforts. Based on collective experiences with the sophomore, Paylor’s father, coach and physician are confident in his ability to endure.
“He gives me hope,” said Jeff Paylor. “Whatever he’s able to push and challenge himself, that human spirit. I don’t know that many people that can do that, yet alone a 20-year-old kid.”
Paylor’s progression in the next couple of months will allow the physicians to individualize his treatment. Paylor and his family are prepared for what is shaping up to be a very lengthy process.
Justice delos Santos is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]