Paralysed Brito's fate uncertain

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The Independent Online
Max Brito, the Ivory Coast wing who was paralysed after suffering a heavy tackle on Saturday, was still in hospital in Pretoria yesterday, where medical experts were fighting to prevent serious complications.

Brito was injured in the second minute, seemingly taking a kick in the head as he went down during a tackle. He was immediately taken to Pretoria by helicopter because of the seriousness of the injury.

Although the initial prognosis was that Brito had broken his neck, the hospital would not confirm this, although they did admit that Brito had damaged his spinal cord.

"It is far too early to announce how serious his condition is," a hospital spokesman said. "It is certainly not the time to suggest that he could become a quadriplegic."

Dr Jan Venter, the orthopaedic surgeon in charge of Brito, said that the player would be put in traction before a decision was made, probably tomorrow, about whether he would need an operation.

Brito's injury was a sad ending to Ivory Coast's campaign. They eventually lost 29-11 to Tonga, their third defeat of the tournament.