Neck injury forces Palavi retirement

Brumbies hooker David Palavi has been forced to retire due to a neck injury. The 27-year-old sustained the injury when a scrum collapsed in the Brumbies’ trial match against the Waratahs on January 20.


While initial scans cleared Palavi of any permanent damage, further tests showed degeneration in his neck and a narrowing of his spinal column.


Palavi says he is still coming to terms with decision.


“I was absolutely gutted when I found out [that my footballing career was over],” he said.


“But the decision to retire was taken out of my hands and made for me by the medical staff. If I could I’d be putting on my boots and running out on Canberra Stadium tonight. But when the doc told me that my long-term health and being able to look after my family was at risk, then the decision was a pretty simple one.”


Brumbies team doctor Warren McDonald says Palavi’s safety would have been jeopardised had he been allowed to continue playing.


“In the end the decision wasn’t too difficult,” he said. “We determined that David’s spinal cord was under significant threat and it was a situation where we decided that we couldn’t let him go back to contact sport. While it’s a devastating decision from his sporting point of view, his health is always the most important consideration.”


Brumbies Rugby CEO Andrew Fagan says Palavi’s absence will be a loss to the side.


“It’s always unfortunate when a player is forced to end his career on the advice of medical staff,” he said.


“David’s been a great contributor to Brumbies Rugby – not only through his career with the Brumbies but also through the work he’s done in coaching junior rugby sides in Canberra. While we can appreciate what a difficult time this is for him, we’d like to hope that he’ll continue his association with Brumbies Rugby and rugby in the region.”


Tongan-born Palavi played 22 Super Rugby matches for the Brumbies, including the 2004 Super 12 Final win against the Crusaders, after making his debut against the Blues that year. The former openside flanker, who played three seasons with the NRL’s Canberra Raiders and Melbourne Storm, represented the Canberra Vikings in more than 100 games, including winning three premierships in the Brisbane club competition and captaining the side in 2005.


Palavi will continue his rugby involvement through coaching following his success as forwards coach for last year’s premiership-winning Tuggeranong Vikings.


He will continue to live in Canberra with partner Charmayne and their three children, Jessica, Isabella and Levi.


365 Digital

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