Worcester Warriors lock Michael Fatialofa is facing having to pay £100,000 in medical costs after recovering from a severe spinal injury.
Fatialofa, who was continuing his rehabilitation at Warriors’ training ground, suffered a vertebrae fracture and spinal contusion one minute after coming on as a replacement against Saracens on January 4.
After the severity of his injuries saw ICU patient Fatialofa successfully undergo surgery at St Mary’s Hospital, his rehabilitation phase was set to take place at Stoke Mandeville hospital.
But due to a shortage of bed space the 27-year-old was transferred to the private facility at Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital, where he spent four months recovering from paralysis to eventually walking unaided.
One source told The Telegraph Fatialofa had ‘swapped one hell for another’ as confusion over the cost of his stay has left the former Hurricanes forward with medical bills being sent to him.
Worcester reportedly paid £36,000 for the first month of Fatialofa’s stay, reimbursed by the Rugby Care insurance scheme.
The outstanding fees Warriors were told would be covered by the Clinical Commission Group, which allow NHS patients to receive private health care when public capacity cannot provide.
But this has not stopped Fatialofa receiving multiple bills which equate to £100,000, bringing more anxiety to Fatialofa and his family after his Worcester contract expires on June and his agreed move to an unnamed Top 14 club called off due to his injury.
A JustGiving fundraiser was launched by the RPA’s charitable arm Restart in January and has raised over £40,000.
Worcester co-owner Colin Goldring has voiced his backing of Fatialofa, saying the club will do what they can to prevent the 2016 Super Rugby champion from stumping up the six-figure payment.
“He won’t be out of pocket because he is one of our boys,” Goldring said. “We will protect him and look after him.”
Fatialofa signed for Worcester in 2018 from the Hurricanes, where he made 38 appearances in Super Rugby over a two-year stretch.
This came after his emergence within New Zealand’s provincial Mitre 10 Cup competition with Southland and Auckland.
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