Injury leaves Cal rugby player Robert Paylor rehabilitating with lower body paralyzed

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This story has been updated to reflect statements from Jack Clark and Mike Williams.

The family of Cal rugby player Robert Paylor released a statement Monday saying that the Bears’ player is working on stabilizing his condition after a collision during Saturday’s Penn Mutual Varsity Cup final left Paylor’s lower body paralyzed with “limited motion in his arms.”

Paylor, a sophomore lock on Cal’s rugby team, had surgery the evening he suffered the injury for his best chance at regaining movement.

“This will be a long and difficult journey for Robert and his outcome is uncertain,” the statement says. “But we know his faith and determination will get him as far as he can go in regaining mobility.”

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to cover Paylor’s medical costs in the coming year, with $1 million set as the goal.

Additionally, a prayer event has been scheduled Thursday evening for Paylor and will take place in either Newman Hall-Holy Spirit Parish or the chapel at the Jesuit School of Theology, according to the Facebook event page.

“The Paylor family would like to extend our sincere gratitude and thanks to the Cal rugby family, friends, and community for all your prayers and support. We can’t find the words that express what that has meant to all of us in this very sad time in our lives,” the statement says. “We are overwhelmed with the love and support we’ve received from people all over the country and ask that you continue to keep Robert in your prayers.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Cal Athletics released statements from rugby head coach Jack Clark and Director of Athletics Mike Williams about Paylor.

“Our team is devastated by Rob’s injury,” Clark said in his statement. “There aren’t words to adequately explain our sorrow for what he and his family are going through. Rob is an extraordinary teammate, friend and student-athlete…His challenges will be severe, long in duration and difficult beyond measure. Our team intends to be there with him every bit of the way.”

Paylor has played for Clark since entering Cal in the fall of 2015. He is from El Dorado Hills, California and previously attended Jesuit High School in Carmichael.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Robert and his family at this difficult time, and our primary concern is for Robert’s long-term health and well-being,” Williams said in his statement. “We are here to provide help and support in every way possible. Our excitement over another national championship is clearly tempered by Robert’s injury, and we certainly hope for the best outcome him and his family.”

Contact Ryan Groves and Hooman Yazdanian at [email protected].