In 2017, Cal-Rugby player Robert Paylor started the NCAA National Championship game as a sports star and left on a stretcher, a quadriplegic. His future was grim, his identity taken in an instant. Today he talks about death waiting for him to quit and the mission he’s on to walk again, the universal experience of paralysis, dark nights with his thoughts, and the staying power of accountability. He gets real about his hardest heartbreak — losing his identity, the times he’d see himself in the mirror and feel pity, and the pride that he’s been able to reclaim through the experience of romantic love.
Chelsea Leigh Trescott: