Talented rugby player sidelined for life

'It's a massive loss to the club'

JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN
Last updated 14:56 06/08/2014
keelan baird
JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN/ Fairfax NZ
TACKLE TERROR: Clyde premier rugby player Keelan Baird, 21, has had his playing career cut short by injury.

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A promising premier rugby player has had his career cut short after he nearly lost a kidney from a freak tackle.

Keelan Baird, 21, spent nearly two weeks in Dunedin Hospital last month recovering from surgery after a game against Upper Clutha in a semi-final play-off match.

"We had 30 seconds to go and it was pretty close - we were playing for a semifinal spot.

"Someone tackled me and I don't know if their shoulder hit my kidney; I thought it was my ribs. I was on the ground and it was pretty sore. I was in a lot of pain."

An ambulance took Baird to Cromwell Medical Centre, then Dunstan Hospital and onto Dunedin where doctors discovered his kidney was ruptured.

"They said hopefully they wouldn't have to take my kidney out ... I've still got my kidney. About two thirds of it is working."

The doctors inserted a stent, which would be removed in six weeks, he said.

He was "gutted" to be told his rugby days were over because of the risk of further injury.

"It's a big part of my life. I have been playing for as long as I can remember."

Baird said he would be a sideline-based club member.

Clyde senior rugby coach Corey Crosbie said Baird had the potential to have made the Otago representative team.

"It is such a shame because he is such a good rugby player. It's a massive loss to the club and even Central Otago country and Otago.

"He has got the potential to go all the way. He could play in the mid-field, forwards ... everywhere. He was very talented. He was a potential captain in the next couple of years because he is such a good leader."

Crosbie had never heard of a player's kidney being ruptured during a match before.

"It is a one-off I would say. I have never heard of that and I have seen guys pretty damaged."

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- The Southland Times

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