Former Hurricanes lock Michael Fatialofa is reportedly facing a $200,000 medical bill for the several months he spent in medical care in England while recovering from a broken neck sustained while playing.
Fatialofa has amazed and inspired friends, fans, family and teammates by getting back to walking again after it was feared back in January he would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of life following his horror injury while playing for English club Worcester.
Fatialofa spent the next four months in a private hospital in Aylesbury, where the UK Telegraph reports he has generated a bill of approximately $200,000.
The 27-year-old spent his first month at the Royal Buckinghamshire private hospital, which ended up costing $75,000 alone.
Fatialofa was then meant to be moved to the Stoke Mandeville public hospital but was unable to as there was no space for him there, leaving the lock at the private hospital for a further three months.
“He has swapped one hell for another,” a source told the UK Telegraph.
Worcester claim to have been advised Fatilofa's care would be paid for by the public health service, seeing there was no room for Fatialofa at the public hospital, but it is now being reported that he has received the hefty invoices for his healthcare.
Making matters worse is Fatialofa is currently out of contract – his last deal with Worcester ended on June 30th and his next adventure with a French club was cancelled following his injury.
The Rugby Players Association charity has so far raised $80,000 to support Fatialofa and his family but it’s understood he has little to no options to coming up with remaining money.
A further complication is that Fatialofa's visa expires soon but he needs to remain in England for follow up treatment before he is able to return to New Zealand.
With all the issues stacking up, Worcester co-owner Colin Goldring has since come forward and promised Fatialofa will not be forced to face the burdens alone, saying he won’t be forced to pay the bill.
"He won't be out of pocket because he is one of our boys,” Goldring said.
“We will protect him and look after him."