UPDATE: ODU Rugby players injured in fight near campus; man says son is improving

Posted at 9:51 AM, Nov 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-04 17:33:43-05

Norfolk, Va. - Police are investigating a fight that happened near the ODU campus on Saturday night that resulted in several ODU Rugby players being sent to the hospital.

It happened outside of a home on Melrose Street where several members of the Rugby Club had gathered to celebrate Halloween.

ODU Rugby team coach Mike Herron told NewsChannel 3 that a group of people who were not a part of ODU or ODU students, tried to get into the party. When they were denied entry one of the suspects picked up a chair and threw it at the window, shattering it.

ODU Rugby players went outside to see what happened, and that's when they were allegedly attacked by the suspects.

ODU rugby captain Michael Rigual was beat up so badly, his father told NewsChannel 3 his jaw was broken, he had blood in his lungs and five teeth were either knocked out or removed. His father also said Rigual is still unconscious, hooked up to a respirator at Sentara General.  Two other players were badly hurt and hospitalized. Club president Robert Sokol will need future surgery on a facial fracture. River Piercy was treated and released Sunday night.

NewsChannel 3 spoke to David Roddy, a player on ODU's Rugby Team. He visited Rigual in the hospital today and says now he is going to practice and play with all of his heart as the team heads to playoffs this weekend.

"Tonight is the first time we are going to see each other," Roddy said. "I think it’s going to be a good turnout and I think everyone is going to be ready to do some hard work and  hopefully just give it our all and do it in honor of Mike and our other friends."

The teams coach, Mike Herron posted on the ODU Rugby Facebook page that all three members were forwards on the team. He went on to say, "Please keep these players and their families in your prayers. This was senseless attack by a group of cowards, and we hope these thugs are quickly apprehended. Coach Hennie and I are extremely proud of how all of our players quickly came to each other's defense, how they handled themselves through this entire incident, and how they continue to support our great tradition. 16 Together" 

The suspects left the scene in what police say was a dark minivan.

An alert was sent out by ODU Police with the following descriptions:

Suspect 1: Black male approximately 6’3” average build with afro-style black hair, wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt.

Suspect 2: Black male approximately 5’10” skinny build, with short black hair, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt.

However, Norfolk police said Monday they were looking for 4 or 5 suspects.

If you have any information about this you are asked to call ODU Police or the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.