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Worcester second row Fatialofa to undergo surgery on neck injury

The New Zealander was injured against Saracens on Sunday.

Michael Fatialofa is taken off by stretcher
Michael Fatialofa is taken off by stretcher

NEW ZEALANDER MICHAEL Fatialofa will undergo surgery on the neck injury he suffered playing for Worcester Warriors against Saracens on Sunday.

The injury has left Fatialofa with “reduced power and sensation in his arms and legs,” according to the latest statement from Worcester, although the club says initial scans showed that he has not suffered any broken bones.

The 27-year-old will be operated on this evening in order to “relieve the pressure caused by the bruising and help restore function.”

The former Hurricanes lock came off the bench in the 50th minute of Worcester’s 62-5 defeat in the Premiership, and he suffered the injury almost immediately.

It led to a stoppage of around 15 minutes at Allianz Park to allow Fatialofa to be treated, before he was taken away on a stretcher and transported to hospital.

Worcester’s latest statement confirmed that he will now undergo surgery on the worrying injury.

“Michael received an injury to his neck during Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership match against Saracens at Allianz Park which left him with reduced power and sensation in his arms and legs,” reads the statement.

“He was taken to St. Mary’s hospital in Paddington where he remains in the Intensive Care Unit. He is fully awake and alert and has his family with him.

“Initial scans were positive showing no broken bones, however, he has some bruising and swelling on his spinal cord.

“He will undergo surgery this evening in order to relieve the pressure caused by the bruising and help restore function.

“Nick Tait, Warriors’ Club Doctor, and the club’s medical team are in daily contact with Michael’s neurosurgeon. Michael and his wife, Tatiana, have been overwhelmed by messages and offers of support from the rugby community across the world.

“Warriors players, staff and club co-owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham, have also been closely involved in supporting Michael and his family.”

Fatialofa’s wife, Tatiana, posted an update to her Instagram account on Sunday night. It reads:

“Haven’t had the chance to reply to a single person yet but @michaelfats is overwhelmed (in the best way) by all the prayers and support – it’s truly helping keep his spirits high, just so thankful honestly for the outpouring of love!

We can tangibly feel the presence of God enveloping us in this horrible situation and have such trust that he is good through it all.

“Update wise: Michael is stable in intensive care right now.

“Please keep praying for any improvements.”

A short statement from the All Blacks said the thoughts of those involved with the New Zealand national team were with Fatialofa.

“It is a massive concern and I’m worried about it,” Worcester director of rugby Alan Solomons said after the incident on Saturday. “The medics have taken all precautions and done everything possible.”

Northampton and England back row Tom Wood expressed his worry, writing on Twitter: “Just hearing the news of Michael Fatialofa neck injury. Scary stuff. My thoughts are with him and his family right now. Really hoping it’s not as bad as it sounds and that he improves soon.”

Saracens’ Brad Barritt, who scored an early try in his team’s convincing win, wrote on Saturday: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Michael Fatialofa of @WorcsWarriors wishing you a swift and full recovery.”

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