close
close

Two Auckland Suburbs Rugby Club players suffer critical, life-threatening injuries in consecutive weeks

Two Auckland Suburbs Rugby Club players suffer critical, life-threatening injuries in consecutive weeks

Two promising players from Auckland’s Suburbs Rugby Football Club have been rushed to hospital in a critical condition after suffering separate on-field medical events in the space of a week.

One of the players was seen collapsing on the field before being rushed to hospital and undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain.

In the other incident, Auckland Rugby has praised spectators who rushed to the aid of a player over the weekend who is believed to have suffered a seizure and stopped breathing. The spectators performed CPR on the stricken man until paramedics arrived.

The events come after a Bay of Plenty rugby league player and a rugby union player from Ruatoria both died after on-field incidents.

On June 17, in the closing minutes of the Auckland club premier rugby match between Suburbs and Ponsonby, midfielder Adrian Lole was seen stumbling back to the try line before collapsing.

Crowds of nervous and emotional family and friends could be seen surrounding the young Suburbs rugby player as they awaited assistance from emergency services.

Hato Hone St John was notified of the medical event about 4.30pm at Shadbolt Park and responded with one ambulance and one rapid response unit.

“We assessed and treated one patient who was transported to Auckland Hospital in a critical condition,” a spokesperson said

Advertisement

Advertise with NZME.

Suburbs' premier men's midfielder Adrian Lole received critical injuries in the match against Ponsonby on June 17. Photo / Supplied
Suburbs’ premier men’s midfielder Adrian Lole received critical injuries in the match against Ponsonby on June 17. Photo / Supplied

A source close to the family told the Herald Lole was rushed into surgery, where he had a blood clot removed from his brain.

The club posted a statement on its Facebook page.

“Adrian, the Suburbs club members are thinking of you and your family during this time and praying for a full and speedy recovery. All our best wishes are with you.”

See also  Timeform's best bets at Redcar on Monday

Messages of support poured in for Lole as the Auckland club rugby community wished him a speedy recovery.

An Auckland Rugby Union (ARU) spokesperson told the Herald they were aware of the incident and still unaware of the cause. However, they said Lole was progressing well.

Auckland City Hospital confirmed Lole remained under their care and was now in a stable condition.

Home of the Suburbs Rugby Football Club, Shadbolt Park, where two players have suffered critical injuries in the past two weekends. Photo / Google
Home of the Suburbs Rugby Football Club, Shadbolt Park, where two players have suffered critical injuries in the past two weekends. Photo / Google

On Saturday, just a week after Lole was critically injured, another player from the Suburbs rugby club experienced a medical event at Shadbolt Park where people rushed to his aid.

The player was transported to Auckland Hospital to receive treatment after the Premier Development match between Suburbs and Manukau.

As a result, the subsequent Premier match was called off as first responders focused on caring for the injured player on the field.

The ARU spokesperson said it was not currently known what caused the incident.

Advertisement

Advertise with NZME.

“The player is undergoing the necessary medical tests to determine that; however, out of respect for the player, we are unlikely to comment further,” they said.

The Herald understands the player suffered a seizure and stopped breathing before members of the public rushed to his aid and performed CPR.

Hato Hone St John was notified of the medical event about 2.40pm on Saturday and responded with one ambulance, one rapid response unit and one manager.

“We assessed and treated one patient who was transported to Auckland Hospital in a critical condition,” a spokesperson said.

ARU said their heartfelt thoughts and concerns were with the player and his whānau.

“We are also thinking of his teammates and all of those who witnessed the event. It’s a distressing time for everyone involved and we wish to offer our support to those who need it,” they said.

ARU was full of praise for those who rushed to the player’s aid and whose quick response “no doubt contributed to him now thankfully being in a stable condition”.

“We are monitoring his progress closely and we wish him a full and speedy recovery.

“Thousands of players enjoy taking part in Saturday rugby every week and we are fortunate that events of this nature are extremely rare,” they said.

The Herald has approached New Zealand Rugby (NZR) for a statement about the two events.

Rugby League player dies after ‘major brain injury’ during game

Earlier this month, Bay of Plenty rugby league player Tere Livingstone suffered a critical brain injury while playing and died in hospital days after the incident.

Livingstone was severely injured during a game at Mitchell Park in Ōtūmoetai, Tauranga on June 10.

Advertisement

Advertise with NZME.

Tere Livingstone, pictured with his partner Chloe and their 19-month-old  boy, Nīkora. Livingstone died in hospital after suffering a major brain injuring during a rugby league match.
Tere Livingstone, pictured with his partner Chloe and their 19-month-old boy, Nīkora. Livingstone died in hospital after suffering a major brain injuring during a rugby league match.

“Our home will be so empty without your cheerful laughter, too-long yarns, delicious cooking, smelly feet, dad jokes, meke gifts and those bear hugs that made all my problems melt away,” his partner, Chloe Withrington wrote to social media.

The New Zealand Rugby League said it was investigating the “tragic incident”.

“NZRL won’t provide details on the incident at this stage; however, a full investigation is underway. Our thoughts are with the Livingstone whānau, Coastline District & Pāpāmoa Bulldogs community.”

Rugby player collapses, dies during East Coast centennial celebration match

In October last year, a player involved in a festival match celebrating the centenary of one of New Zealand’s smallest rugby clubs died after an on-field incident.

The player collapsed during the match between Ruatōria City’s 2022 squad and a Ruatōria Centennial XV.

Despite extensive efforts to save him, the player was pronounced dead at the scene, the match was abandoned and a karakia was sung as his body was removed from the pitch.

A spectator said players remained around their mate’s body as they took turns to pay their respects.

The match was a curtain-raiser to the 2022 Lochore Cup final between the Ngāti Porou East Coast and Mid Canterbury Heartland Championship teams.

Players taking action into their own hands

In April this year, the Associated Press reported the number of former players from rugby union, rugby league and football taking legal action against sports governing bodies over claims they suffered brain injuries during their careers had grown to nearly 400, a British law firm said.

The London-based Rylands Garth firm said it would formally start the lawsuit on behalf of 260 rugby union players, 100 rugby league players and 15 football players, who say authorities in their sports “were negligent in failing to take reasonable action in order to protect players from permanent injury caused by repetitive concussive and sub-concussive blows”.

Among the group is All Blacks great Carl Hayman, who has recently spoken out about his struggles living with dementia and the degenerative brain condition CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) at only 43 years of age.

In an interview with 1News, Hayman said: “It’s tough mentally when every week for 10 months a year you’re putting your body through essentially a car accident.”

Advertisement

Advertise with NZME.

According to ACC data, rugby union had 51,365 injury claims nationwide in 2022, which was down slightly from 52,324 in 2021, but up from 45,081 in 2021.

The team sport with the second-highest number of ACC injury claims last year was football, with 39,424.

  • June 25, 2023