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Massey Rugby Club player collapses after head knock, taken to hospital in critical condition

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A rugby player was taken to hospital in a critical condition. Photo / 123rf

Stunned spectators watched as a rugby player collapsed after a head collision and was given CPR, including by his wife, during a match at the Silverdale Rugby Club on Saturday.

Hato Hone St John told the Herald it was notified of a medical event in Silverdale at 3.30pm yesterday and responded with two rapid response units and one ambulance.

“Our crews assessed and treated one patient who was transported to Auckland hospital in a critical condition,” the St John spokesman said.

The incident happened during a match between Silverdale Rugby (SURSC) Under 85s and the Massey Panthers at the Silverdale grounds.

An eyewitness said spectators and fans were “left stunned” as the Massey player lay motionless on the ground and was being treated with a defibrillator and CPR.

“It was an uneasy feeling especially after what happened at Beachlands just a couple of weeks ago,” said Nicci Budler, a Silverdale supporter who was at the game.

On April 27, rugby player Cory Heather, 33, died after suffering a head knock during a match between Beachlands Maraetai and Patumāhoe in Beachlands.

“About 10 minutes before the first half was finished, a Massey player had fallen over on the field and he was having seizure,” Budler said.

“I think it was his son, who was also one of the players on Massey’s team, that ran over and asked people to stop playing because his dad was seizuring.”

Budler said she believed the player had taken a knock on the head during a tackle and “got up and appeared all good” just before he went down.

“The ref called half-time early because of the event, and they ended moving the game into a different field so that the play could continue,” she said.

“There was then talk that he had a heart attack, so someone ran to the rugby club to get a defibrillator while another person was giving him CPR.”

Budler said St John arrived and then attended to the player “for a good 20 to 30 minutes” before taking the man in an ambulance to hospital.

“Obviously what happened was hard to see and it left spectators stunned, especially with the Beachlands incident from two weeks ago still fresh on minds,” she said.

In an update on WhatsApp group, supporters were told that the player had a heart attack and had to be put into induced coma.

“Lucky his wife is an ICU nurse, gave good CPR and chucked the defibrillator on him where he got a shock and stabilised,” one message said.

Another said he had two large stents put in, and was currently under observation.

A message at 9.40am this morning said an update from Massey’s manager said brain scans “have all come back clear”, which was “great news”.

Massey Rugby Club has been approached for comment.

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