Mose Masoe says he faces ‘a lifetime of struggle’ after spinal injury
Former St Helens and Hull KR prop Mose Masoe has opened up about the severity of his paralysis as a fund-raising initiative gets under way on both sides of the world.
The 31-year-old Samoa international suffered a career-ending and life-changing spinal injury 14 months ago while playing for Rovers in a pre-season friendly.
Masoe damaged two vertebrae in an innocuous tackle but within months astounded doctors who warned he may never walk again by taking a few unaided steps.
However, he has now been diagnosed tetraplegic, which means he has partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso. He can still walk only a few steps on his own and has no sensation or dexterity in his hands.
Masoe’s partner of 10 years, Carrisa, has become his full-time carer, providing daily assistance with tasks such as personal hygiene and toilet use as his bladder and bowels do not function naturally.
It not a situation which sits well with the 6ft 6in former Grand Final winner with St Helens, who knows how the reality of life contrasts with the ‘miracle man’ headlines from 12 months ago.
“The reality is that 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.
“There have been lots of dark times. They’ll no doubt be many more, but I’ll keep going. I’ll stay positive.”
Masoe has received support from day one from the Rugby League Benevolent Fund but his family are facing the prospect of being hundreds of thousands of pounds short of what they need to live in some form of comfort, even after an expected insurance pay-out.
The Mose Masoe Foundation is being launched to raise funds to help relieve the financial and mental hardship of players who suffer spinal injuries and Masoe will be the first beneficiary.
A virtual ticket campaign, backed by Super League, will be held across all round two fixtures over the Easter Weekend when similar fund-raising efforts will take place in Australia, where Masoe’s former clubs Penrith Panthers take on Manly and Sydney Roosters play the New Zealand Warriors.
Hull KR coach Tony Smith, who is a trustee of the Foundation, says it is hoped the initial campaign will raise enough money to help the player and his family while they are living in the UK and when they return home to Australia at the end of the year, when his contract with Rovers runs out.
Carissa Mosoe said: “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.”