Ex-Cronulla Sharks star with a baby on the way is left a quadriplegic after breaking his neck in horror rugby incident
- Ex-Cronulla Sharks winger broke his neck playing NSW country rugby union
- Nathan Stapleton, 32, represented Sharks from 2009-2014, scored 17 tries
- Received devastating news he has been left paralysed after on-field incident
Former NRL player Nathan Stapleton has been left paralysed from the shoulders down after breaking his neck while playing NSW country rugby union earlier this month.
The 32-year-old received the devastating news that he is a quadriplegic – paralysed from the shoulders down – overnight.
Stapleton’s spinal cord has been damaged at his C4 cervical vertebrae, located in the neck.
The heartbreaking diagnosis was confirmed by Stapleton’s family, who have established a Go Fund Me page to assist with ongoing costs.
Stapleton, who played for Cronulla and the Roosters in his NRL career, and his partner Kate have an 18-month-old boy.
They are also expecting a newborn baby within months.
Former NRL player Nathan Stapleton was playing rugby union for Boorowa in a NSW Country competition when he was hurt in a ruck on April 9. He has since been told he is a quadriplegic – paralysed from the shoulders down
The heartbreaking diagnosis was confirmed by Stapleton’s family, who have established a Go Fund Me page to assist with ongoing costs (pictured, with wife Kate in Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital)
‘Nathan was hospitalised after fracturing his neck while playing country rugby union on 9 April 2022 in West Wyalong,’ the Go Fund Me page reads.
‘Unfortunately, Nathan severely injured his spinal cord during contact and required significant medical assistance.
‘Through an incredible effort from members of each club, Nathan was given first aid until paramedics could arrive. Once stabilised, Nathan was airlifted to receive emergency medical treatment in Sydney.
‘Nathan has begun his recovery in hospital, and whilst he shows improvement each day, the extent of his injuries and long term impact remain unclear. Nathan’s spinal cord has been damaged at the C4 level of his cervical vertebrae.
‘At this stage, the injury has left Nathan a quadriplegic, paralysed from the shoulders down.
‘While the Stapleton family remain hopeful that Nathan will regain some movement, it has become clear that Nathan will require long term support and care.
‘Anyone who knows Nathan can attest to his determination and incredible work ethic.
‘He has demonstrated this through his success playing in the NRL with both the Cronulla Sharks and the Sydney Roosters.
‘There is no doubt that Nathan will bring that same determination and commitment to his rehab and recovery. There is no limit to what Nathan can achieve.’
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