The Rugby Football League’s Benevolent Fund have promised to make a “lifelong commitment” to support the Hull KR forward Mose Masoe, after helping lead the fight for him to remain in hospital to continue his recovery from a career-ending spinal injury. Masoe was told a fortnight ago that due to the increased demand for beds for coronavirus patients at Wakefield’s Pinderfields hospital, he would be forced to continue his rehabilitation at home, despite insisting that he was “not ready” to leave hospital.
The 30-year-old has been in Pinderfields’ spinal unit since suffering the injury in a game against Wakefield in January, but will now be able to stay in hospital after the Benevolent Fund, a charity which provides assistance to rugby league players and their families after life-changing injuries, intervened.
“We were part of a group who insisted it was wrong to send him home,” Steve Ball, the fund’s general manager, told the Guardian. “It’s so important that people like him continue to get physiotherapy so his rehab stays well and truly on track. That would be impossible at home with the current social distancing guidelines. He’s made incredible progress, and thankfully the spinal unit has been able to continue as normal.”
Ball added that Masoe will receive universal support from the Benevolent Fund as long as he stays in this country. “We pay for everything we can, and we have made him a lifelong commitment that while he is here, he will get our backing and our help,” he said. “We have guys who were injured in the 1970s and we support them the same. We’re not a wealthy sport, but we’re rich in our values.”
The hope is that Masoe can now stay in hospital for the entirety of his rehabilitation. “We are hoping so, though obviously Pinderfields have stressed it is always under review,” Ball said. “It’s important for people like Mose that we ensure he gets the capacity and treatment he needs.”
Masoe has made remarkable progress since his injury. Initially paralysed from the shoulders down and able to move only his head, he is now walking with crutches. It is a far cry from the position Masoe found himself in when the Benevolent Fund first made contact and met him in hospital.
“We normally are notified of serious incidents fairly quickly, and within a day of Mose’s injury, I was by his bedside and holding his hand,” Ball admitted. “He was laid prone in bed and told him we would do everything we could to help, because he was genuinely fearful for his family.
“Hull KR have agreed to honour his contract, but we will sort everything else. When it looked like he was leaving hospital we paid for a stairlift to be put in at his home. His wife is self-isolating because she’s six months pregnant, so we’ve got Mose an iPad to speak to him and his family back in Australia. These sorts of commitments define who we are as a fund, and who we are as a sport.”