Cronulla prop Andrew Fifita injured his throat during the 16-14 loss to Newcastle in the NRL on Sunday and has since been placed in a coma
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Rugby league star Andrew Fifita is in a critical but stable condition after suffering a serious throat injury on Sunday.
The prop injured his throat during Cronulla’s narrow 16-14 loss to Newcastle in the NRL and has reportedly been placed in an induced coma in an intensive care unit in Brisbane.
The Sharks released a statement on Sunday evening which claimed that Fifita had difficulty swallowing because of the ‘significant laryngeal injury’.
While the Sharks remain unsure of how the injury occurred, Fifita appeared to suffer the initial blow to the throat early in the second half against the Knights and the 32-year-old reportedly had difficulty breathing and swallowing.
Approximately 20 minutes after the match ended, a visibly concerned Fifita was brought onto the field to be examined by paramedics before he was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance with his wife Nikki, who wanted to be by his side.
He will see a specialist on Monday afternoon after his condition developed and his larynx suffered severe swelling, prompting doctors to place Fifita in an induced coma to assist with his breathing.
He is expected to have surgery and could be brought out of the coma as early as Monday night.
With surgery appearing likely, Fifita’s season will end prematurely after just six appearances for the Sharks in 2021.
The rugby league veteran, who has played for both Tonga and Australia at international level, played just 13 minutes of the match as he came off in the 39th minute for a head injury assessment after clashing with an opponent’s shoulder while taking a hit-up.
Fifita – who is signed with Cronulla until the end of 2022 – was cleared of a concussion at half time, but was whisked off the field again in the 46th minute and did not return.
NRL head of football Graham Annesley said the footage will be reviewed, although he is unsure whether an act of foul play causes the injury.
“Firstly, I’d like to say that I’m sure everyone is concerned about Andrew’s injury and we wish him nothing but a speedy recovery. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment further than that,” he said.
“I don’t think there’s any suggestion of foul play at this point but the match review committee have got an obligation to look at all incidents in games to the best of their ability to determine whether incidents are clear or not.”