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USA Rugby Issues Apology On How It Handled Robert Paylor Injury Investigation

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USA Rugby Issues Apology On How It Handled Robert Paylor Injury Investigation

Robert Paylor walking with the aid of a walker at the Cal football game.

USA Rugby has issued an official statement with regard to how it handled the investigation and citing of the events leading up to the injury of Robert Paylor.

Paylor was a standout rugby player for Jesuit of Sacramento and then Cal.

Cal Inspiration Paylor To Receive Wilma Rudolph Award

He was injured in the final of the Varsity Cup in 2017, breaking his neck after a maul collapsed just a few minutes into Cal's victory over Arkansas State. Paylor was paralyzed, but after a determined recovery, during which he also achieved his MBA at Cal's renowned business school, Paylor has been able to walk with the aid of a walker.

USA Rugby investigated the incident, and many felt that the process was not handled well, from transparency and clarity over the citing process to a lack of communication from USA Rugby to the Paylor family. Today, June 15, USA Rugby issued an apology, along with a new plan of action for dealing with catastrophic injuries:

Over the past three years, USA Rugby’s Board of Directors and National Office have fielded inquiries regarding Robert Paylor’s injury (University of California), issues surrounding a lack of action and an inadequate process around the post-injury investigation and citing. The current USA Rugby Board, alongside several members of the National Office has reviewed USA Rugby’s handling of the catastrophic injury.

First, on behalf of USA Rugby, we apologize to Robert Paylor and his family for the lack of timely action and an inadequate citing process. We agree that retrospectively, the citing process should have been more transparent, provided more rigorous due diligence and openly communicated to all parties involved.

As a result of the outcome, USA Rugby determined that all catastrophic injuries will require an immediate, independent panel review for foul play, including, but not limited to mandatory interviews and review of video evidence. We must be intensely focused on upholding the laws of the game and player welfare is paramount to our success as a sport.

The Varsity Cup was a USA Rugby sanctioned event that was organized by a third party. The universities and players, including Robert Paylor, were members of the union in good standing. Robert deserved our organization’s best efforts and the process didn’t meet anyone’s expectations.

Again, on behalf of USA Rugby, we apologize to Robert Paylor and the entire Paylor Family for how the case was handled, as a whole. We are sorry that an incident of this magnitude did not receive the expedient action and transparency it deserved. It resulted in outcomes that were subpar and left Robert and his family confused and frustrated. USA Rugby’s current Board of Directors is taking the proper steps to ensure that corrective actions are in place to prevent any reoccurrence.