A 19-year-old is in a critical condition in Wellington Hospital after suffering a head injury during a club rugby match at the weekend.
The man was rushed from the ground by ambulance and had surgery on Saturday night.
In a statement, Wellington Rugby said it was not clear how the man was injured, but there were no allegations of foul play.
Witnesses reported the player was involved in a collision in the first part of the match in Porirua.
He was taken from the field later on, after his teammates noticed worrying symptoms. His condition deteriorated rapidly after he left the field.
The man's family, who have asked for him not to be named, said the incident was a tragic accident.
In a statement, they expressed their thanks "for the wonderful care he has received from the paramedics, rugby supporters at Ngati Toa Domain and from the amazing staff at Wellington Hospital".
The family said the man had played rugby since he was seven years old, and had been injured doing what he loved.
"What happened was nothing more than an accident," the statement said.
Wellington Rugby and New Zealand Rugby are investigating the incident.