'Devastating': Footy rocked as horror incident leaves star paralysed

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Nathan Stapleton's family have revealed the devastating extent of his recent injury. Pic: Getty/GoFundMe
Nathan Stapleton's family have revealed the devastating extent of his recent injury. Pic: Getty/GoFundMe

The footy community in Australia is rallying around former NRL star Nathan Stapleton after a devastating update from his family around a shocking recent accident.

The former Cronulla winger has been left a quadriplegic after suffering a spinal cord injury while playing rugby union in country NSW.

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Stapleton, who played 61 games for the Sharks, sustained the injury while playing for Boorowa in a game against West Wyalong on April 9.

The match was abandoned and the 32-year-old was transferred to Sydney's Royal North Shore hospital where he has begun rehabilitation.

Stapleton has an 18-month old son with partner Kate and the couple are expecting a second child in July.

Nathan Stapleton scored 17 tries in 61 games for the Cronulla Sharks during his career in the NRL. Pic: Getty
Nathan Stapleton scored 17 tries in 61 games for the Cronulla Sharks during his career in the NRL. Pic: Getty

The player's family confirmed the horrific news, with reports Stapleton damaged his spinal cord at the C4 level of his cervical vertebrae.

A GoFundMe page has been set up on behalf of Stapleton and his family.

As of midday on Friday, more than $44,000 had been raised towards a target of $150,000.

"At this stage, the injury has left Nathan a quadriplegic, paralysed from the shoulders down," the page read.

"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.

"There is no doubt that Nathan will bring that same determination and commitment to his rehab and recovery."

Footy community rallies around Nathan Stapleton

Cronulla are attempting to raise funds for Stapleton by auctioning off the jerseys worn in their Thursday night win over Manly.

Stapleton was hurt in a ruck during the second half of his Boorowa club's opening game of the season against West Wyalong.

The match was immediately abandoned while the 32-year-old was treated by a nurse at the ground.

He was taken to the spinal unit at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, with a welfare officer at his former club Cronulla also checking on he and his young family's wellbeing.

Stapleton scored 17 tries 61 games for the Sharks between 2009 and 2014, before being released to join the Sydney Roosters.

He later moved to England to play with London, and has started a family since moving back to Australia.

with AAP

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