A Feilding student who suffered spinal injuries during a high school rugby game is only just able to sit up in bed, a month after the event.

Feilding High School student Jacob Fifita-Tovo, 15, was flown to hospital on July 22 after suffering a spinal injury in a game against Napier Boys' High School.

A Givealittle page set up to raise funds for his family states, "Jacob was involved in an unlucky accident when an opposition player's leg connected with his head/neck resulting in a spinal injury".

The incident was said to have occurred during a tackle that could have been in any game, on any day.


Jacob, who plays for the third XV, was initially airlifted to Christchurch Hospital but was later transferred to Burwood Hospital, where he has remained in care since.

Officially Jacob's injury is classified as C4 ASIA "C" incomplete. They have not had to stabilise the break surgically.

In a release on Thursday, Jacob's parents Mario and Lucy Fifita-Tovo said their son has limited movement in both legs and toes and reasonable right arm and finger movement, but weaker on the left.

One of the family is with Jacob all of the time while he is in hospital, they said.

"On Friday last week Jacob was placed into an Aspen collar, the purpose being to keep his neck area absolutely still.

"His neck is in alignment which is very good news.

"He is now able to sit up in bed as opposed to lying flat all of the time. Which is great, although it does take the body a while to re-adapt to this."

The family statement said the medical team meet daily and weekly X-rays show them the best path forward, however Jacob's condition is still wait and see to some extent.


Jacob will be starting active rehabilitation this week.

"We are taking things day by day and week by week. We want to thank everyone for the incredible generosity, care and love," said Lucy Fifita-Tovo.

The Givealittle page to help assist Jacob and his family during this time has currently raised $10,853.

"As a school and community we want to help the family out as much as we can," the page reads.

"This may be a long road ahead for Jacob and his family. We want to help minimise the financial burden on the family as best we can.

"Any amount will help and this is our time to come together as a school and community.

"These funds will be used to support the family as required. The health system and ACC are covering all medical costs but there will be a big burden on the family whilst they get through this challenge."

Jacob and his family are also being supported by the NZ Rugby Foundation, which works with players and families in these situations.