First XV injury fears relieved

IAIN SCOTT AND GEORGE HEAGNEY
Last updated 08:05 09/06/2014

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Two boys were flown to hospital at the weekend after being injured in a rugby game played at the same high school where a Palmerston North boy was seriously injured last month.

However, unlike Awatapu College player Nathanael "Nat" Manville who is still in hospital, the two Tararua College students - both believed to be 16 - are understood to be back at home, their injuries not as serious as first feared.

The boys were hurt during a first XV game between Tararua College and Dannevirke High School on Saturday afternoon.

A St John Ambulance spokeswoman said one of the boys was seriously injured, while the other suffered minor injuries.

Paramedics stabilised them before the Palmerston North rescue helicopter airlifted them to Palmerston North Hospital, pilot Lance Burns said.

Tararua College spokeswoman Claire Matthews said yesterday one of the boys was already home and she understood the other boy was also going home. She would not release their names.

"People leaped to conclusions because they were airlifted to hospital, but I think it's fair to say that they are not as serious as the initial perceptions," she said.

"I've certainly been speaking to the family of our student and he's home, he's fine."

Manawatu Rugby Union chief executive John Knowles described the incident as a "head clash" but confirmed the injuries were not as serious as initially thought.

He said last month's incident, in which Manville, an Awatapu College year 13 student, sustained a serious neck injury, was still fresh in people's minds.

It was understood that one of the boys hurt at the weekend may have suffered a concussion in the past.

They had been airlifted to Palmerston North Hospital as a precaution because the attending paramedic did not want to risk taking them by ambulance.

Manville, 18, fractured his fifth cervical vertebra during a ruck while playing for Awatapu's first XV against Tararua College on May 17.

He was flown to Palmerston North Hospital before being transferred to Christchurch Hospital where he was waiting to be moved to Burwood Hospital's spinal unit.

He remains in the intensive care unit at Christchurch Hospital after having surgery on his neck.

He had bone grafted from his hip to help fix the fracture and plates inserted at the fourth and sixth cervical vertebrae to provide support.

An intubation tube was removed from his throat and a tracheotomy inserted, allowing him to speak in short bursts.

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- Manawatu Standard

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