North West Wales

Paralysed rugby player Bryan 'Yogi' Davies dies at home

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Media captionMr Davies's spirits remained high to the end, his friend said

A former rugby player who was paralysed from the neck down in a game six years ago has died.

Bryan Davies, 56, known to friends as Yogi, died at his home in Gwynedd on Friday surrounded by his family.

The hooker spent two years in hospital after the incident which happened while he was playing for Bala in April 2007.

Friend and local councillor Dilwyn Morgan said Mr Davies had been ill for some time but his "spirits remained high to the end".

"Bryan in the last six years since his accident really touched a lot of lives, not just within the rugby community throughout Wales but other communities and individuals as well," he said.

"He was such a strong character, so positive right to the end - he was just an amazing person.

"He couldn't understand why people were so kind to him.

"I don't think he realised what a special person he was."

The accident happened as Mr Davies captained Bala against Nant Conwy in what was to be his retirement game.

'Luck of the draw'

He spent 18 months in hospital before moving back home, but he returned to hospital for another 18 months after suffering a collapsed lung.

Donations poured in from rugby clubs across the country to allow the family to adapt their home, and Mr Davies finally moved back in January last year.

He wrote a book about his experiences and said the injury occurring during his retirement game was the "luck of the draw," which could "happen to anybody".

Mr Davies is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

A funeral date is yet to be confirmed, but Mr Morgan said his friend wanted a choir from the rugby club to sing on the pitch where the accident happened and for a service to be held there.

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