The Newcastle Knights Alex McKinnon is facing life in a wheelchair after reports emerged that the NRL rugby league back-rower has been diagnosed as a quadriplegic.
The 22-year-old sustained his injuries last Monday when he landed on his neck following a three-man tackle by Melbourne trio Jesse and Kenny Bromwich and Jordan McLean.
In a tragic sequence of events McLean's attempt to lift the former St George Illawarra player went horribly wrong leaving him with injuries that have rocked the game to its foundations.
The diagnosis was confirmed on Monday night by the Country Rugby League on its Facebook page.
McLean will front the NRL judiciary on Wednesday in what is certain to be a difficult situation for all involved.
The young prop was allowed to play against Canterbury on Saturday after initially being stood down by the NRL and is said to be distraught by the plight of McKinnon.
Social media was awash with tributes to McKinnon from figures from across the game and the world of sport with Australia Test captain Michael Clarke leading the way.