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Local Rugby Player and Jesuit Alum Paralyzed

CARMICHAEL -- The outpouring of support of paralyzed rugby player Robert Paylor is nothing short of amazing. The 20-year-old from El Dorado HIlls was injured this past weekend during a national championship while playing for the University of California at Berkeley.

Since Monday, the GoFundMe page set up for the former Jesuit High student has already raised more than $300,000.

"There are people around the world that are donating that don't know anything about Robert, but they know about rugby and they know about his story," said Jesuit rugby coach John Shorey.

Paylor and his family are from El Dorado Hills, but at word Wednesday at rugby practice for Jesuit was the money is coming in from all over the place. Teammates, former classmates and staff at Jesuit, UC Berkeley alums, even relatives of other paralysis patients and anyone else touched by his story.

"If there is a guy who can handle this situation, it's Robert. He has strong faith, he's a very positive guy, and he's very upbeat about his journey going forward," Shorey said.

"Leader, character guy, his teammates loved him. You know, he's the type of teammate you want to play with and play for. He was an awesome young man," said Jesuit football coach Marlon Blanton.

Paylor played both football and rugby at Jesuit, and he was also in the band. The injury, though, has left the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Paylor paralyzed below his chest.

"But he's getting some feeling, some movement. I think the body is starting to fire again," said Shorey.

"You know, for this to happen to someone like Robert, God must have a plan for him. Something that I don't know," said Blanton.

Robert's medical expenses are expected to reach $1 million for the first year of his care alone, and that's part of the reason others that know Robert are telling his story.

"Knowing him like I do, he's giving us more comfort than we're probably giving him right now because I think he knows he'll be fine," Shorey said.

The Jesuit community will be holding a special mass on campus on Friday at 8:30. They want as many people as possible to come out and pray for Robert's recovery.