Former Hull KR prop Mose Masoe says he is potentially facing a “lifetime of struggle”, more than a year after suffering a serious spinal injury.
The 31-year-old damaged two vertebrae in a pre-season friendly against Wakefield in January 2020.
He has been diagnosed as tetraplegic, meaning he has partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso.
A foundation has now been launched to raise money for Masoe and other players who suffer spinal injuries.
“The reality is that my wife Carissa has become my full-time carer and, as a man and someone who has always wanted to look after my family, I have felt guilty at all the pressure that has fallen onto her shoulders by my injury,” he said.
“She has to look after the kids and look after me. She hasn’t got three kids now, she’s got four. I know I am facing potentially a lifetime of struggle. I’ll never be normal again. That’s just the truth.
“I can keep working on getting the legs going that bit more but I’ve got to accept I’ll be on medication all my life and the issues I have with my bladder and bowels could be lifelong.”
With games still being played behind closed doors, a virtual ticket initiative will be in operation across all Super League games for the second round of fixtures over Easter weekend in April, when Rovers play the other Super League side Masoe represented, St Helens, to raise money for the Mose Masoe Foundation.
A similar plan is in place for the games featuring the two Australian sides Masoe played for that weekend, with the Penrith Panthers taking on Manly and Sydney Roosters facing the New Zealand Warriors.
Masoe and his family are planning to return to Australia at the end of the year when his contract with Rovers expires.
Hull KR coach Tony Smith, who is a trustee of the foundation, has said it is vital the sport gets behind him.
“He’s still got a big battle ahead of him,” Smith told BBC Radio Humberside. “We can certainly help his family for the future and they are going to need that.”
Carissa Masoe added: “We’d always planned to return to Australia and for Mose to be close to his other son, Benson, who is 13.
“The plan was for him to start a new career and it was something we were excited about. The fact is now that Mose is going to struggle to work in most roles.
“Mose is a one in million in terms of how he has accepted what has happened and how he has faced it but we’ve both had to accept that this is likely to be our life now. That’s what it is.”