KELOWNA – A Kelowna man’s physical recovery journey has been amazing, but financially, it’s a different story.
It’s been three weeks since Judah Campbell, 24, broke his neck playing rugby for the Kelowna Crows. Campbell broke two of the vertebrae in his neck, but his spine wasn’t severed, although it’s badly bruised. He’s had surgery to fuse the broken C-4 and C-5 vertebrae with metal plates.
Since his injury, his recovery has been slow but steady. First he had movement in his toes, then his ankles and legs. Now he can take a few steps with support.
Three weeks ago the doctors had told the family that the outcome is impossible to know. They were told it was possible that Campbell could regain mobility, but the doctors said it was a wait-and-see situation that could take months or years.
It’s taking weeks.
“He’s able to grasp a cup in his left hand,” according to Kelowna Crows president Jeff Findley who is in close contact with the Campbell family. “They are measuring his finger movements by the millimeter and every day he get better mobility.”
Campbell’s recovery is moving from the feet up. So the more movement he gets in his hands the better. It bodes well for a full recovery.
“We’re all pretty excited with the fact that he’s started walking and his hands have started to move,” Findley says.
Along with providing emotional support for their friend and teammate, the Kelowna Crows have taken on the job of fundraising for Campbell who’s a struggling student.
He had just finished his bachelor of science at UBC Okanagan and was waiting to get into medical school when he was hurt. Campbell is self-employed so doesn’t have any insurance, other than the policy provided to rugby players by Rugby Canada.
Unfortunately the insurance only covers catastrophic injuries.
“Most of our players are starving students who don’t have surplus cash to buy extra insurance.”
Plus, Findley said they thought they were getting better insurance from Rugby Canada than they were.
That’s why the team is fundraising for Campbell.
“We’re basically going to do what his insurance should have done for him… Rugby Canada’s insurance doesn’t cover loss of wages.”
So far the community have raised a whooping $50,000. Their goal is $100,000.
Findlay figures that kind of money will cover Judah’s expenses while he recovers.
Over $30,000 has been collected on a website created by Rugby Canada. Findlay figures another $15,000 will come from the Kelowna Crows and the other teams in the league that are fundraising.
Plus there is a bracelet campaign started by the rugby club and has since been taken over the Campbell family. The blue, rubber bracelets with Judah’s name in red are selling for $5 each. The initial thousand sold out and the family has ordered another 5,000.
The family is providing regular updates on Campbell's progress on Facebook.
Video Credit: YouTube
Video Credit: YouTube