Australian rugby league player Jordan McLean has been found guilty over a tackle on rival Alex McKinnon which left the Newcastle Knights man in hospital with a spine injury, and led to fears he is paralysed for life.
A panel of National Rugby League officials in Australia found Melbourne Storm prop McLean was guilty of careless tackling, and banned him for seven matches.
At the disciplinary hearing in Sydney, McLean's lawyer argued the devastating injury had been a "terrible and tragic accident." His client, 22, could not bring himself to watch replays of the incident during the hearing.
The decision by the the panel comes as sources close to stricken McKinnon, also 22, moved to dampen fears he has been left quadrapledric by the tackle last week.
McKinnon broke two vertabre when he hit the ground after being lifted in a three-man tackle during the NRL clash between the Storm and Knights.
However Knights coach Danny Buderus sought to dispell the worrying rumours that McKinnon will never walk again. He said: "That's been wrongly reported. This is the first stage of his recovery. It's too early to say what's going to happen just yet.
"It will be taken stage by stage.''
However, Buderus admitted the aftermath of McKinnon's devastating injury had been a tough time for the club.