Kalepo Naotala and his family in the hospital
Naotala lying in a hospital bed surrounded by the rest of the football team visiting him
Kalepo Naotala

The College Football Assistance Fund announced that a grant of $10,000 will be awarded to University of Hawaiʻi football player Kalepo Naotala to help with medical and non-medical costs while undergoing rehab for a spinal cord injury.

Naotala, a freshman from Virginia who grey-shirted in 2016, suffered a serious spinal cord injury on July 1, 2017 while diving with friends near Waikīkī in Honolulu. He was rescued from the water, and had been receiving treatment at The Queen’s Medical Center. Recently, however, he was transferred to Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado for further rehabilitation.

“On behalf of the University of Hawaiʻi, we wish to extend our appreciation to the College Football Assistance Fund for their generosity and support of Kalepo,” Athletics Director David Matlin said. “This gift will make a big difference in assisting the Naotala family in Kalepo’s road to recovery.”

Naotala’s medical costs will continue rising, meaning fundraising efforts must continue. Those able to assist can make donations at www.CFAFund.org, which will be put in a restricted fund for Kalepo and his family.

“As unfortunate of an incident as it was for Kalepo, the outpouring of support has been amazing,” head coach Nick Rolovich said. “With the help of the College Football Assistance Fund and many others who have generously supported the Naotala family, it will make their journey a little easier.”

Statement from the Naotala family

“Words can’t express how blessed we’ve been in the midst of this trying time for our family. The outpouring of God’s love and grace through prayers, love and support from Virginia to Hawaiʻi and now Colorado has been tremendous! We’d like to thank the College Football Assistance Fund for their support and generous donation in allowing our family to focus on Kalepo and his recovery and rehabilitation. We are grateful and appreciative that such an organization exists and is able to help us out during this critical time in our son’s life.”

Faʻafetai Lava/Mahalo,
Tony and Shantell Naotala

For more read the full story on the UH Mānoa Athletics website.