Nafi Lefono

The NZ Rugby Foundation have been instrumental in getting my life back on track since a rugby accident that left me paralysed in 2007 in Dunedin. I basically didn’t have my head in the right position and it ended up making front on contact with the attacking players hip. The result was C7 tetraplegia.

The journey since has taught me a lot about myself and about life, which has given me a whole new perspective. As the classic saying goes "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" reigns true with me as I carved out a new life.

At the time of my injury The Rugby Foundation were there offering help over and above my expectations and made sure that my family and I had everything we needed, which I’ll always be grateful for. Growing up, rugby has always been a big part of my life as well as being very active, so getting involved with wheelchair rugby was second nature. I am very grateful to the NZ Rugby Foundation for purchasing my rugby chair in 2010, which has given me the opportunity to play for the Wheel Blacks, be more active, compete at the highest level and also travel overseas to countries I thought I would never visit.

At the time of my injury I was at the University of Otago studying towards a degree in physiotherapy but was set back due to my injury in 2007. I have picked this back up and am currently in my third year at Auckland University of Technology. Aside from the injury, this would have to be another one of those difficult things to get through but I always do enjoy a bit of a challenge. I’m still undecided about what I want to do when I graduate but I’ll love to go back and work at the spinal unit or maybe work in sport rehab, but who knows what will happen, there’s so many opportunities out there.