25 January 2019, Apia Samoa. Faiva Tagatauli lost his battle to stay alive following brain surgery on Saturday night after a head bump during a rugby match caused internal bleeding to the right side of his brain.
Faiva Tagatauli had played No.6 last Saturday for Vaimoso Senior A rugby team in their match against Vailele. When the 27-year-old left for work on Saturday morning, his wife Seutatia and their young 4 year-old son would not know that it was their last goodbye.
A press release from the Samoa Rugby Union states that Faiva had signalled to his Manager that he wanted to come off with 10 minutes left in the match. He then walked off the field unaided but complaining of a sore head collapsing soon afterward.
According to doctors who treated Faiva at the Motootua National Hospital, x-rays revealed that there was bleeding in his brain. Emergency brain surgery was performed by a visiting neurologist after Seutatia had signed off on hospital approval forms.
Faiva’s father in law says that it was a difficult decision for his daughter to make especially since Faiva had been unconscious since he collapsed at the fields.
“Sa fautua mai lava fomai, o le pau lea o le auala e mafai ona toe togafiti ai Faiva.”
Faiva’s mother in law Sieni Fuluifaga confirmed that he passed away early Thursday morning at 1:05am after 4 days of fighting to stay alive.
“Our family are still trying to come to terms with what has happened.
“My daughter is heartbroken and still trying to take all of this in.”
Faiva and Seutatia have a 4 year old son and one on the way.
Faiva’s father-in-law Fuluifaga tells Samoa Global News that Faiva had lost his father and that his mother lived in Fagamalo. Faiva had married his daughter and lived with them in Vaimoso.
“We loved him like our own son,” said Fuluifaga.
Fuluifaga said that his son loved the game of rugby but had not played for a while because he had sustained a head injury in 2016. Fuluifaga says that Faiva had returned last Saturday for his first game back, thinking he had fully recovered.
“O le tausaga 2016 sa matapogia ai ina ua lavea, ia ma lē toe taalo ai lava i le tausaga atoa lea ua te’a atu nei. O le toe alu lava lea e toe taalo, o lana taaloga muamua lea, e le’i taalo i le vaiaso i tua.”
Fuluifuga says that rugby had been an ongoing issue with his daughter who never agreed to Faiva returning to play rugby.
“My daughter always tells him that he’s not allowed to play, I hear them debating but I know how much Faiva loves rugby so I pretend not to hear when they’re talking about the issue.”
“Ou te faatagā taligatuli lava laia pe a ou faalogo atu o ote mai Tia, auā ou te malamalama lelei i le naunau o Faiva i le taaloga.”
“I have one son who doesn’t play rugby so I would be so proud when I see Faiva playing, it makes me excited to go and follow the village team because I have a son that plays.”
Fuluifaga said that he had spoken with his son-in-law that morning before he left for work and he had planned to go along and watch his game.
“He said he would work until 12 and then come and get me before the game at 2.30 but he must’ve run late from work and went straight to his match.”
“Ai o le mamao i Tuanaimato ua alu sa’o ai lava mai le galuega.”
Faiva had been training and worked as a masseuse for the past 6 years and had recently joined Roseberg Clinic. He was described by his father in law as a hard working father who provided for his young family.
Many who knew Faiva have expressed their shock and paid tribute to him on social media.
Ben June Kitara wrote, “Why now uso I can’t believe it. We talk last week and you ask me to buy some rugby boots for you but now you gone without saying goodbye uso.”