Stricken Mose Masoe faces "lifetime of struggle" as Foundation is launched

Having opened up about the true severity of his paralysis following the launch of a foundation in his name, former Hull KR prop Mose Masoe admits he feels “guilty” that his partner has now had to become his full-time carer.

Mose Masoe, partner Carrisa and their children at home.

The Samoa international, 31, suffered a career-ending and life-changing spinal injury 14 months ago while playing for Rovers at Wakefield Trinity in a pre-season friendly.

Masoe damaged two vertebrae in an innocuous tackle and it was feared he may be paralysed for life but within months he stunned doctors by taking a few unaided steps.

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Nevertheless, the inspiring videos on social media of him making great progress have masked the real truth that has since emerged.

Father-of-three Masoe has been diagnosed tetraplegic, which means he has partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso, can still only walk a few steps unaided and has little use of his hands.

"The reality is that Carissa has become my full-time carer and, as a man and someone who has always wanted to look after my family, I have felt guilty at all the pressure that has fallen onto her shoulders by my injury," he said.

"She has to look after the kids and look after me. She hasn't got three kids now, she's got four.

“I know I am facing potentially a lifetime of struggle. I'll never be normal again. That's just the truth.

"I can keep working on getting the legs going that bit more but I've got to accept I'll be on medication all my life and the issues I have with my bladder and bowels could be lifelong.

"There have been lots of dark times. They'll no doubt be many more, but I'll keep going. I'll stay positive."

The Rugby League Benevolent Fund has always supported the forward, who won the 2014 Grand Final with St Helens, but, even with an expected insurance pay-out, the family are readying themselves to be left financially struggling.

With that in mind, the Mose Masoe Foundation was launched today to raise funds to help relieve the financial and mental hardship of players who suffer spinal injuries and the New Zealander will be the first beneficiary.

A virtual ticket campaign, backed by Super League, will be held across all round two fixtures over the Easter Weekend when similar fund-raising efforts will take place in Australia, where Masoe's former clubs Penrith Panthers take on Manly and Sydney Roosters play the New Zealand Warriors.

Hull KR coach Tony Smith, who is a trustee of the Foundation, says it is hoped the initial campaign will raise enough money to help the player and his family while they are living in the UK and when they return home to Australia at the end of the year, when his contract with Rovers runs out.

Carissa Mosoe explained how a recent doctor’s report acted as a ‘reality check’ for them both.

“It was a big moment for us as it outlined how Mose’s injury will impact on us in later life,” she said.

“It reflected on how his injuries are likely to age him quicker than other people of his age now. He could need to have a wheelchair in later years, and of course I’ll age too and be less capable of looking after him than I am now.

“Being presented with a vision of the future, and how tough that could be, was hard. I’m 33 and Mose is 31. We’d never have looked that far ahead. We’ve had to have honest conversations and accept the worrying reality.

“Mose is still ultra-positive, and sometimes I feel I need to remind him that this is not the normal rehabilitation process from an injury and he won’t make a full recovery. He’s accepting that now – whilst always determined to do better.

“As his bowels and bladder don’t work I have to help him with that every morning. It is obviously not something any partner wants to have to do, but it’s become part of our life now. I find it stressful and an extra worry as I am not properly trained.

“We have always tried not to feel sorry for ourselves, and in the most we don’t, but there are many times I look at Mose and feel sad. I’m sad for him when I look at him with Lui and he can’t scoop him up like he did the girls when they were babies. I wonder how he’s coping with that.

“We watch videos of him with the girls when they were younger as well and he’s pushing them on the swings and playing. He can’t do that with them now, and he can’t do that with Lui. I am watching him having to find another way to be a dad, and whilst that leaves me full of admiration, I do get sad too.

“The girls have been really good. They’ve had to look after Lui when he’s alone with Mose, as he is crawling now. They’ve got used to helping their dad.

“Mose has pushed himself to get to where he is today and I have said to him that had this been the other way around, and I had suffered that kind of injury, we would never have got this far. He’s incredible and I’m often in awe of him, and we love him so much.”

Sky Sports will broadcast a half-hour documentary on their ‘On Demand’ service from today with Mose and Carissa, entitled ‘Behind The Smile’ and details on how people can help can be found at www.mosemasoefoundation.co.uk

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