NRL star recovering after suffering seizure in match that left fans in shock

James Gordon
Corey Harawira-Naera

Canberra Raiders forward Corey Harawira-Naera is recovering after frightening scenes that saw him collapse suffering a seizure in their 33-26 NRL win over South Sydney Rabbitohs at the weekend.

Harawira-Neara, 28, was lying on the pitch for several minutes as he was attended to by the Raiders medical team, with players from both sides surrounding the player to provide privacy.

Worried fans were left in shock by the pictures, with the game broadcast live around the world.

He was taken straight to hospital following the incident, but the Raiders confirmed that he had been discharged over the weekend and could return home to Canberra.

They later shared a video message from the New Zealand international where he thanked everyone for their support.

Harawira-Neara said: “I want to thank the boys from both teams, our medical staff and the Rabbitohs medical staff, the paramedics, the doctors, the coaching staff from both teams and all the footy fans, Raiders fans, family and friends. I’ve been pretty fortunate to receive a lot of messages about what happened last night.

“I’m doing a lot better now, love to you all for thinking of me and the prayers.

“I’m back on the mend, not in the clear yet but we’ll get some more scans and sort it out. Health comes first but hoping to get out on the field as soon as possible.”

Harawira-Naera has played 123 game sin the NRL for the Raiders, Canterbury Bulldogs and Penrith Panthers, and represented New Zealand three times in 2019.

In his post-match press conference, Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said: “They’re situations that are very uncommon and they’re scary. When it’s one of your mates, it makes it even harder.”

Multiple head knocks cited as a possible cause

It comes amidst increased focus on the impact of collisions in rugby league and other contact sports, particularly around concussion and brain disease, which sometimes can only be diagnosed after death.

The way the game is played, the way players are monitored in game, and the way they are treated during and after the match have all come under scrutiny, with multiple changes in both the NRL and in the UK.

Raiders CEO Don Furner later revealed that the seizure was as a result of three minor head knocks.

He told Sydney Morning Herald: “What they’ve found is two incidents leading up to it, that the doctor has said ‘they could be minor, but they reduce your threshold’.

“He did go head first into the turf, even though it didn’t look that bad, almost innocuous. The set before, he made a tackle and copped a head knock as well. A couple of smaller knocks in a row, they think might have been a contributing factor to Corey’s seizure.”

Reports Down Under suggest that Harawira-Naera is expected to miss at least a month of action.

He went down with 15 minutes left of the match when Canberra were leading 24-20 at Accor Stadium. Coach Stuart rushed to the sidelines to check on his player, with the remaining players praised for their response to the incident.

Canberra are next in action on Friday away at Wests Tigers, coached by former Salford, Hull KR and Widnes boss Tim Sheens.

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