Rugby injury survivor compensated after 13 years

Charles Oppelt was paralysed from the neck down after waiting 15 hours to receive treatment.

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CAPE TOWN - A former rugby player who was left paralysed due to a spinal injury will finally receive compensation 13 years later.

The Constitutional Court ruled the Western Cape health department was negligent in their treatment of Mamre rugby player Charles Oppelt.

Oppelt was just 17 in 2002 when a scrum collapsed, causing a severe injury to his cervical spine and leaving him paralysed from the neck down.

He waited 15 hours before he receiving treatment.

Oppelt says he's happy this has been settled.

"Just for now I am going to study sports science next year at the University of Stellenbosch. I am playing rugby again, in a wheelchair."

Oppelt still harbours hopes of becoming a Springbok.

"I went to Pretoria thrice this year, to play trials to represent South Africa and I am glad be back in rugby. Hopefully you will see a Springbok with the name 'Oppelt' in the future."