Scarlets forward Gavin Quinnell has permanently lost the sight in one eye following a club match last weekend.
Quinnell, who rejoined the Scarlets this summer after spells with Viadana and Worcester, suffered the damage playing for Llanelli against Cross Keys in the Principality Premiership.
The 26-year-old underwent eye surgery on Saturday night at Newport Gwent Hospital but it has since been confirmed that he will not regain the sight in his left eye despite the best efforts of his medical team.
The news has come as a shock to the region and prompted the Scarlets to release the following statement on their website:
“Naturally, the Quinnell family are all shocked and devastated and have asked to be given time and space to come to terms with the news and allow them to concentrate on giving Gavin their full support and attention.
“Gavin and his family have also asked the Scarlets to express their gratitude for the numerous messages of support and the heartfelt wishes they have received from the rugby community across the world and from supporters of the Scarlets.
“The family would like to add that Gavin is coping well given what he has been through and they are all very proud of the way he is handling the situation.
“It is very sad news for all those connected with Llanelli rugby, the Scarlets family and rugby as a whole and all our best wishes are with Gavin.
“The Scarlets will continue to offer Gavin and his family all the support they require going forward.”
The Scarlets and Llanelli RFC have lodged a formal complaint with the Welsh Rugby Union regarding the incident which is reported to have led to Quinnell’s injury.
The matter is now in the hands of Gwent Police who are investigating an allegation of assault.
The Scarlets confirmed that no further comment would be made while the enquiries continue.
Everyone involved with the Magners League and with Celtic Rugby wish Gavin the best with his recovery.