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The Austin Blacks won their league match against the Dallas Reds this past weekend 20-17, a victory that was both less meaningful and more meaningful than usual.

Less meaningful because the previous weekend had certainly reduced the importance for a mere rugby game in the grand scheme of things, and yet more meaningful because of how the team showed their support for their teammate.

Austin player Andrew Bassett was hit by a car last week, and almost died. The young Australian-born player was taken to a local hospital and put in intensive care, where, because of bleeding in his brain, he was put into a coma. He suffered a fracture of his hip and his spine.

Only recently was he taken off a ventilator and brought out of the coma, but he remains heavily sedated and badly injured. By a strange coincidence, Bassett’s parents were in town visiting him from rural Queensland, and while the accident was terrible news for them, at least they did not have to endure a long flight from Australia before they could see their son. Bassett’s parents have been at his side constantly.

The accident hit the Austin Blacks rugby club hard, and teammates, who already had seen another player almost die due to complications following a skiing accident, were again concerned they might lose Bassett.

The team rallied around the game Bassett loves, and thanks to a last-minute try from scrumhalf Zach Triplett, emerged 20-17 victors over Dallas.

“I was just immensely proud of the guys and how they came together through such a tough week for everyone,” said Austin Head Coach Lachlan Ferguson. “It’s been a really emotional time for everyone, but we’re glad to see he’s starting to improve.”