AFL Oceania visits paralysed players
THERE were smiles on the faces of Ma'afu Kiokata (22) and Paumolevuka Tu'i (18) when they were visited by Australians Michael O'Shannassy and Andrew Cadzow at Vaiola Hospital yesterday November 18.
The two young men have been lying paralysed at Vaiola since August 22 when they were hit by a vehicle while they were out training to represent Tonga in an Australian Football League, Aussie Rules competition in Australia.
The accident left Ma'afu paralysed from the neck down and Pau from the waist down.
Michael, a local tax advisor, and other fundraisers, including Bruce Shaw and Mark Korsten, have opened a trust account for Ma'afu and Paumolevuka, "with the intention of meeting the essentials and for the two young men to let them know that there is still a life out there for them to live," said Michael.
The hospital visit was to introduce Andrew Cadzow, the Australian Football League Development Manager for Oceania who is in Tonga to draw up development plan for the setting up of Aussie Rules in Tonga. Andrew is keen to help with the fundraising for the injured players, particularly with a view to providing custom built wheelchairs
Ma'afu was happy to report that he could move his left hand a little.
Paumolevuka 's mother reported that Pau's legs hurt and there was a hope that he might eventually move his legs again.
Meanwhile, Vaiola Hospital is caring for a third paralysed athlete, Semisi Katoa from Nukunuku, a former Aussie Rules player who was injured earlier this year while playing Rugby Union, and he is also in need of some support.