SYDNEY: Seti Tafua — an integral part of the Norths RFC 1st Grade squad — suffered a serious neck injury that has rocked the rugby community. His injury occurred in a second grade game against the Warringah team. Seti landed on his head awkwardly and dislocated his C5 and C6 vertebrae, causing damage to his spinal cord and leaving him with no motor skill from the waist down.
Norths RFC held a club meeting and counselling session on the 25th of June for its players. It was also attended by the Seti family, members of which had arrived from New Zealand and Samoa.
Norths RFC club doctor Stephen Freeman addressed the meeting and provided a medical appraisal of the extent of Seti’s injuries and what to expect over the coming weeks and months. Dr Freeman explained that ‘when Seti went into the ruck… he hit his head awkwardly, which caused a dislocation between the C5 and C6 vertebrae… the combination of a stretch during the dislocation, and then the slip forward — causing a crush — caused damage to the spinal cord.’
Dr Freeman further explained that ‘the level of Seti’s injury is low enough to preserve his diaphragm function – so he can breathe by himself – but high enough so he could have loss of function of his arms, and legs, and weakness of his torso. It appears that Seti has regained some arm function, but he still has only patchy sensation and little or no motor function below his waist.
‘Over the next few weeks, as the initial swelling resolves, and the spinal cord recovers from the initial trauma, the degree of injury will become more apparent. The specialists are predicting that Seti will likely have some arm function, but is unlikely to regain the use of his legs. However, the permanent effects of the injury will not become fully known for some time.’
Seti’s mum made an emotional speech about how Seti enjoyed playing rugby for the Shoremen and his love for the club. Scott Fava said later: ‘It was a really emotional night. Seti’s mum was amazing, so strong. She said we just have to keep positive and keep moving on. She told us how much the club meant to Seti.
‘It’s been a tough week but the amount of support in terms of offers of money, time, auction items, everything, it’s been mind-blowing.’
Norths RFC has thanked Easts Rugby Club for postponing matches in all grades and allow the Shoremen to breathe.
The Norths leadership group met to discuss fundraising ideas for Seti and his family for the immediate future, and once he is released from hospital. Players have donated their match payments so an iPad could be purchased for Seti to watch movies while in hospital. Norths designated the game against Sydney Uni as a tribute to their brother and how much he put into the club.
Several types of fundraising activities will be held at North Sydney Oval on Saturday, 21 July. All funds raised in support of Seti will be directed to a specific bank account that has been established to manage his financial needs in the immediate and distant future.
If you would like to make a donation to the fund, details of the bank account are:
Account Name: Seti Tafua
BSB: 082 401
Account Number: 138 711 833
(taken from the Norths RFC site http://www.northsrugby.com.au/news/donations-for-seti-tafua-611480.html)
The message below comes from the Facebook page set up for the appeal at https://www.facebook.com/SetiTafaustayStrongBrother
Seti is in good spirits today. While I (pods) visited with him today a doctor of let’s say Indian decent arrives to ask SETI a few questions…. As the questions draw near Seti casually asks me “pods, do you watch the big bang theory?” “yes why?”
Doctor “anyway SETI I’ll come back soon”
SETI: “cheers Raj!!!”
Stay strong, Seti.