BERKELEY, Calif. (CBS13/AP) – A University of California, Berkeley rugby player was partially paralyzed after being injured during the opening minutes of a national championship game.

Robert Paylor’s family said in a statement that the 20-year-old sophomore from El Dorado Hills is paralyzed below the chest and has limited motion in his arms due to a spinal injury.

Cal’s rugby head coach Jack Clark said Tuesday that the devastated team “intends to be there with him every bit of the way.”

Paylor was injured Saturday in a game where the Bears beat Arkansas State in Santa Clara.

Some of his former teammates at Jesuit High School call him a tough athlete in both rugby and football. They don’t doubt he will stay strong following his injury.

At 6’5″ and 250 pounds, his former coach Marlon Blanton says it’s more than his size that makes Payler stand out.

“A very good young man of faith, so that will help him get through,” he said.

His family set up a GoFundMe page, saying he faces a difficult journey with an uncertain outcome. They estimate his medical expenses for the first year of therapy to be about $1 million. A mass will be held on Friday at 8:30 a.m. in the chapel to pray for his recovery.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.


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