A University of California, Berkeley rugby player was partially paralyzed after being injured during the opening minutes of a national championship game.

Robert Paylor's family said in a statement that the 20-year-old sophomore is paralyzed below the chest and has limited motion in his arms due to a spinal injury.

Cal's rugby head coach Jack Clark said Tuesday that the devastated team "intends to be there with him every bit of the way."

Paylor, of El Dorado Hills, was injured Saturday in a game where the Bears beat Arkansas State in Santa Clara.

His family set up a GoFundMe page, saying he faces a difficult journey with an uncertain outcome. They estimate his medical expenses for the first year of therapy to be about $1 million.

Paylor played for Jesuit High School.

"He was a great leader here," said John Shorey, who coached Paylor. "Not only on the rugby field but for the school."

Shorey called what happened a freak accident. He's been the coach for 21 years and never seen this kind of injury.

"I have a lot of parents that played football and I played football," Shorey said. "Football is 100 percent injury sport and it just depends how bad the injuries are gonna be. Rugby most injuries we see are broken noses, scratched up, maybe an AC separation of the shoulder but in terms of major injuries very rare."

He describes that rugby isn't a brutal sport as what people may think.

"You got to remember you're playing for 80 minutes and you're running around," said Shorey.

The Jesuit rugby team is collecting cards for Paylor. They're getting ready for their national championship next week and hoping to win it for Paylor.