Boy's freak rugby injury

2010-03-30 00:00

A PROMISING young Maritzburg College rugby player’s kidney had to be removed after he was tackled so hard during a match that his rib bent and cut into the organ.

Mac van der Linde (14), a grade eight pupil who has a rugby scholarship, played against the Under 14 team from Voortrekker High last Tuesday.

His father, Anton van der Linde, said Mac, who plays scrumhalf, was tackled as he stretched to catch the ball.

“He felt pain immediately, but the paramedic alongside the field looked at him, decided he probably just pulled a muscle and said he could play again.

“After two minutes of playing, however, it was so painful that he said he wanted to sit down.”

Mac sat on the sideline for the rest of the match and the paramedic was still convinced the problem was nothing more than a painful muscle.

“After the match he went back to the school hostel on the bus. Once they were there, the pain was so excruciating that his team-mates had to carry him the few hundred metres to the hostel.”

Van der Linde, who lives in Empangeni, said the hostel nurse gave his son one look and took him to Pietermaritzburg Medi-Clinic.

“Later that night they called us and said we must come to the hospital urgently.

“It was very late when we got there. My child was in terrible pain.”

The doctors tried to save his right kidney, but had to remove it by Saturday.

“His twelfth rib bent and cut into the kidney — a clean cut,” said Van der Linde.

“According to the doctors, it probably happened because he’s still young and bones can bend more easily then.”

He says his son is still in severe pain.

“At times it’s so painful that he cries. He was given an epidural, but the pain will apparently become worse once the epidural is removed.

Mac is expected to be discharged by the weekend.

“Apparently he will be able to play rugby again, but the doctor said if it were his son, he’d rather not risk it. He only has one kidney now.”

He said the school has yet to contact him in connection with the incident.

“The hostel nurse phones every day to hear how he’s doing.”

Mac’s mother, Tanya, is with her son at the hospital.

“All he wants to do is go back to playing rugby.

“He’s very talented. After all, he did get a rugby scholarship from the school.

“The doctors said a case like this — where the rib sticks through the kidney — is truly very rare. We just want to warn other parents to be extra careful and not to take any injury too lightly.”

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