English Super League club Hull Kingston Rovers are hoping to help Kiwi prop Mose Masoe and his family avoid a “bleak future” after his career-ending spinal injury.
Masoe lost all feeling from the chest down when three artificial discs in his neck gave way and pinched his spinal cord while making a regulation tackle playing for Hull KR against Wakefield in January last year.
The 31-year-old Hull KR captain has since been on a long journey to recovery and is now walking with the aid of crutches and says he hopes to “walk normally” again soon.
However, Hull KR coach Tony Smith has warned that Masoe and his family will need more financial support once he leaves England at the end of the year.
Masoe will still be paid by his club until the end of his contract in November, but will reportedly only receive £50,000 ($100,000) in insurance compensation.
A Just Giving fundraising campaign has also been set up for Masoe, which has raised£113,000 ($226,000) from a £150,000 ($300,000) target, while he has also had help from the Rugby League Cares Foundation.
Smith, Hull KR chief executive Paul Lakin and several senior players are setting up a committee to organise more fundraising ventures to help Masoe following his career-ending injury.
“We are going to organise a few events between now and when his time finishes with Hull KR, and he has to leave the country to hopefully make his life a little bit easier than the bleak future it looks at the moment,” Smith told the Press Association.
“If he doesn’t get any help, it’s going to be bleak.”
While Masoe has made “terrific progress”, Smith says he “may well have hit his peak” and was “still a long way from being a position where’s he’s going to be able to provide for his family in the future”.
Lakin said the team wants to help Masoe as much as they can.
“Mose is an unbelievably positive man and has been an inspiration over the last year to so many people,” Lakin told the Hull Daily Mail “But we’re at a point where the reality is now that he could do with some financial assistance, and we want to do everything we can to help him.”
In a four-minute video released by Hull KR, Masoe and his partner Carissa spoke about the shock and difficulties of the injury one year on from the incident.
“I went to the changing room with one of the boys and met [Mose] down there. The moment he came in, I could tell by the look on his face that it was pretty serious,” Carissa said.
“Just seeing someone you love in a situation like that is really scary.”
“We just had a moment to ourselves, and we both had a bit of a cry,” Masoe added.
The video shares Masoe’s incredible journey to recovery, from being isolated away from family while undergoing surgery in hospital due to the Covid-19 pandemic, to his first steps in the kitchen with his children.
“At the moment, I’m trying to get off crutches and go on to one crutch, like a cane. Once I get my balance back, hopefully I should be able to walk around normally.”
Masoe said he wants to remember “the positives” from the year instead of dwell on his injury.
“The birth of my son was massive for us, [and] getting engaged with my fiancee. That’s what I am going to remember.”
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