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‘He's a Real Inspiration': Paralyzed Cal Rugby Player on Road to Recovery

It has been nearly a year when UC Berkeley rugby player Robert Paylor walked out on the field during a championship match and was carried off paralyzed.

His recovery since that life-changing moment has been nothing short of amazing.

Paylor recently returned to his home turf for the first time since being injured.

"I just remember when I got hurt," Paylor said. "There's really nothing good that you think could come out of this, but it's because of these amazing people and this place that the good far outweighs the bad."

The homecoming this past weekend at Witter Rugby Field gave Paylor a chance to reconnect with teammates and classmates.

"He's a real inspiration and it was really emotional for us to have Robert back on campus," Cal Rugby Head Coach Jack Clark said.

Clark, who has coached the rugby team at Cal for 35 years, said the strength of the program and its alumni is a big reason why Paylor's injury did not have the debilitating effect it could have. Clark added rugby alumni recently contributed more than $2 million in endowments.

"The proprietary knowledge is that rugby changes lives in a very profound way and once you know that it's pretty easy to ask that person to pay it forward," Clark said.

Paylor said he appreciates the support.

"I love them so much," he said. "They've been here to carry me through this entire process. And whenever I need somebody, they're always there to pick me up. It's just the kind of program where, should you fall, someone is there to pick you up and keep you going."

Paylor continues to rehab in Denver. His goal is to one day walk on his own again.

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