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Gary Coetzee: A Tragic Injury

Gary Coetzee was a very talented young loose forward who played for False Bay RFC in the 80s. He left our shores along with two or three other Bay men at the end of the 1986 season to play in the very tough French league.


Gary stayed in France for a number of years and then settled in the USA. He never returned to live in South Africa, although he has returned to his beloved homeland for many visits since his departure.


Gary has never forgotten his Bay roots and keeps himself up to date with developments at our club through our website, his brother Paul and a small network of Bay guys with whom he keeps contact.


Since settling in the United States, Gary has spread the 'gospel' of Rugby Union through his non-profit rugby youth programme at Great Falls.


Gary suffered a tragic accident on November 17 when he broke his neck playing rugby. As freakish as this accident was, his life changed forever, and this healthy man became a quadriplegic. Fortunately, Gary's injury is incomplete, meaning that unlike most similar C-3 injuries, he is recovering movement in all four of the affected limbs.


He is working extremely hard at improving and only time will truly determine the extent of his permanent limitations. Gary stayed at The Shepherd Centre ( in Atlanta until the end of January. His progress has been very good and his family believe that with Faith and Gary's determination, his recovery will include being able to walk again.


Gary would dearly love to return to his home again and in due course to work and his passion, coaching rugby. Take a look at his non-profit youth rugby programme on


Although it stands to reason that injuries of this magnitude come with tremendous physical, emotional and financial challenges, we sometimes do not truly grasp this fully. Apart from the out-of-pocket medical expenses, there is ongoing rehabilitation and the substantial costs of renovations to the home to customise their home for wheelchair and other restrictive use.


When we hear of members in need, where possible we share the experience to make others aware to garner emotional and spiritual support. Keeping Gary and his family in your thoughts will assist in this regard.


If your interest and means extend to assisting financially, then that would be greatly appreciated.


Theresa posts regular updates on Gary's progress on


Take a look, perhaps you can help. Yes, the exchange rate makes donating ex SA a little difficult, but every little bit helps and False Bay's members are spread across the World, so others may be able to help too.



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