South Coast rugby league star Cameron Vazzoler diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome

A year ago, the footballing skills of rugby league wonderkid Cameron Vazzoler almost brought their city rivals across the NSW Country line. Now his career is at a crossroads after he was diagnosed with a rare immune system disorder.

The 24-year-old learned he had Guillain-Barré syndrome just weeks after being named Player of the Year for leading the Bega Roosters to their first premiership in eight years in the group’s competition 16 of the South East NSW Rugby League.

His symptoms were so severe that he spent almost a week in intensive care.

Guillain-Barré syndrome sees the body’s immune system attack nerve cells and the cause remains unknown.

With it unclear how long Vazzoler’s recovery would take, the football community came together, helping to raise $30,000 in just two days.

The money will be used to cover Vazzoler’s medical bills and support him during his recovery.

Cameron Vazzoler after leading the Bega Roosters to victory over the Tathra Sea Eagles in September.(Supplied by: Bega Roosters Rugby League Football Club)

South Coast Rugby League commercial and operations director Ashton Sims – a former Fijian international and NRL star – is the force behind the fundraiser.

He said Vazzoler, who was also a former Kiama Knights star halfback, had a big impact on the game in just a few short years.

“I’ve never met Cameron but I know a lot of people who are good friends with him and from what I’ve heard he sounds like the kind of guy I would hang out with,” Sims said.

“That’s the thing with rugby league, we take care of each other and that’s what we do in this case.”

Vazzoler unable to walk without a frame

Friend and Roosters committee member Dave Armstrong said it was hard to believe Vazzoler’s diagnosis came so soon after the Roosters won the premiership.

Mr Armstrong said Vazzoler was unable to walk without the aid of a frame and would not be able to return to work at Bega Cheese for some time.

Ashton Sims Cowboys Profile
Former NRL player Ashton Sims helped with the fundraiser.(Getty Images: Ian Hitchcock)

“He’s definitely had some dark days, and his partner Piper, who’s been amazing, calls me if he’s having a bad day or is down,” Mr. Armstrong said.

“Cameron is very focused and very determined, so he’s been chomping at the bit to improve.”

Vazzoler was recruited as captain-coach by Roosters life member Gary Ahkin, who Armstrong said made a few phone calls when the team was looking for a coach.

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Vazzoler helped the Roosters to their first premiership in eight years in his first season as captain/coach.(Supplied by: Bega Roosters Rugby League Football Club)

“He had a very distinguished career and he is held in very high regard,” he said.

“Cameron is a competitor, but he keeps it all on the pitch.”

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