Serious spinal injury ends career of Hull KR prop Mose Masoe
The 30-year-old former St Helens forward underwent emergency surgery at Leeds General Infirmary and, after four days in intensive care, is being moved to the spinal unit at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.
Smith revealed at a press conference on Thursday afternoon that Masoe lost all feeling from the chest down after one of three artificial discs in his neck gave way and pinched his spinal cord following an innocuous collision.
“This is a career-ending injury,” Smith confirmed. “If Mose is able to walk, that will be a success.
“All that is still unknown and we’ve got to be careful what we set our sights on as an outcome.
“Mose has two lovely daughters here in this country and a young son in Australia that are suffering and worrying about their dad, and an unborn child on the way.
“There are different measures of success. I know he’s looking forward to just hugging his children again.
“It looked very, very, very bleak until he had his operation. He’s made some good improvements and every little bit of improvement is a huge improvement from where it was first expected with him.”
A fundraising scheme has been established to help Masoe, and the Rugby League Benevolent Fund flew his family to England to be at his bedside.
Smith also revealed that Sporting Chance are providing assistance to the rest of the players.
Masoe has been appointed as a co-captain for 2020, with second-rower Weller Hauraki taking on the role of Rovers club captain following the departure of Joel Tomkins.
Hauraki, who was an ever-present in 2019, will be sidelined for at least two months after being told he needs to undergo an ankle reconstruction, but Smith says the appointments were made before last Sunday’s match.
“This isn’t a reaction to any recent occurrences,” Smith said. “We want both these young men to represent our club and still do.
“Mose will play a role for us wherever he can, he will have some input and motivation into the team. He has already done that after he sent a video message.
“I do want everyone to understand it was agreed last week, that that was going to be the case and it hasn’t been a reaction to recent occurrences.
“We’re really proud that he’s going to stay involved and have a big impact on our team and club. We’re really proud to have them both as our captains.”
Hauraki said: “It’s a massive honour for me to captain this club and the boys that I’ve played with for the last year. It makes it even better to share something like this with Mose, it gives me more motivation to get back and do it for the both of us.”
Dual-code international Sonny Bill Williams is poised to make his first appearance for Toronto at Castleford on Sunday after being named in a 21-man squad for the Michael Shenton testimonial match.
His last rugby was for New Zealand in the World Cup 11 weeks ago.