Rugby broke my neck. But not my love for the game


Daniel Lombard lay still on the hard ground. As the shock of the impact subsided, his body began to tell him where he was hurt. Everywhere, it seemed. Not unaccustomed to the collisions that come part-and-parcel with rugby, he wondered whether he would play again the next day. But that schoolboy practice would be his last. The fall had broken his neck in three places.

In an unforeseeable instant Lombard’s life changed forever. He was constrained to a wheelchair. A C45 quadriplegic. “I realised that there was nothing I could do, so there was no point feeling sorry for myself,” says Lombard. To move on he was forced to leave behind much of what he’d known before, but refused to let go of sport. Encouraged by those around him, Lombard decided to put his knowledge about rugby to use as a sports blogger.

“I got a lot of positive feedback,” he says. “And I realised that I could make a career out of this.” At the time Lombard was studying towards a degree in Psychology, but switched his major to journalism. He completed his Honours at TUKS in 2014. Because he chose hope over bitterness, Lombard has been able to strengthen his connection to sport, instead of letting it wither away. His dream for the future is to become the communications manager for a professional rugby team. A tenacious young man who has shown tremendous commitment to the sport he loves, any side would be lucky to have him.