The family of a Bay of Plenty rugby league player who sustained a critical brain injury in a game at the weekend have been given the devastating news the “doting father” will not recover.
Pāpāmoa club player Tere Livingstone was injured on Saturday in Tauranga. His partner posted on social media that she was “utterly broken, torn in two”, and the NZ Rugby League Union said it was investigating the “tragic incident”.
The Pāpāmoa Bulldogs senior player was injured during a game at Mitchell Park in Ōtūmoetai, according to messages posted on the sports club’s Facebook page and on a Givealittle page for the family. The Givealittle has raised more than $35,000 in less than 24 hours.
The club’s widely-shared post said: “For those that may or may not know. Our brother Tere Livingston was critically injured [in Saturday’s] game.”
It said he suffered “a major brain injury”.
“After receiving a scan and surgery he has been putting up a fight for the past few days, however, we’ve received the devastating news that Tere won’t recover.
“Tere’s partner Chloe and their beautiful 19-month-old baby boy, Nīkora, will be deeply impacted by these circumstances.”
Both messages described Livingstone as an “amazing man” on and off the field, who had a fun-loving nature and a “profound” effect on others.
“He lights up every room with his cheeky smile and is always the first one to bring everyone together, second to none with aftermatch salads and always generous with his full chilly bin.
“The community of people who love him will feel his loss immensely.”
The post said Livingstone’s skillset and knowledge made him a great player.
“On the field, he played big minutes in any position, defending hard and playmaking like a half.”
“The Bulldogs will be travelling to Waikato Hospital on Wednesday and we will not be playing this weekend in Rotorua.”
The club encouraged people to donate, if they could, to help Livingstone’s whānau, partner and son.
Livingstone’s partner, Chloe Withrington, also posted a heart-wrenching public message on her Facebook saying the family was “overwhelmed” with the support they had received.
She encouraged people to keep sharing memories, messages and photos.
She thanked Lisa Constance for setting up the Givealittle page, those who had donated, friends and family who had visited, Papamoa Bulldogs Rugby League and Sports Club for their support, and her partner’s whānau for “accepting me as one of your own, and wrapping me with so much love and support”.
“I am utterly broken, torn in two. You were the most generous, warm-hearted person on this earth. The most doting father to our son. You taught me so much, and no one will ever come close to you.
“Tere Livingstone I will miss you every minute for the rest of my life.”
“We know many of you want to say your final goodbyes, and will share details as soon as we can.”
A New Zealand Rugby League Union spokeswoman said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened by the extremely tragic incident that occurred at Mitchell Park over the weekend with Pāpāmoa player Tere Livingstone.
“NZRL won’t provide details on the incident at this stage; however, a full investigation is underway. Our thoughts are with the Livingstone whānau, Coastline District & Papamoa Bulldogs community.”
The Bay of Plenty Times also approached Papamoa Bulldogs Rugby League and Sports Club president Jebert Moeke, the Coastline District Rugby League’s chairman Stan Nicholas and the police for comment.
Donations can be made on Givealittle.