Former Sharks star Nathan Stapleton is in hospital after fracturing his neck while playing rugby union.
The talented fullback was rushed to West Wyalong District Hospital after he was caught in a ruck while playing for Boorowa against West Wyalong in the Central West District Rugby Union in NSW on April 9.
The Boorowa Rugby Club announced on Tuesday the 32-year-old is still in a serious condition in hospital after being moved to the spinal unit at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney.
“During our game last Saturday at West Wyalong, Goldies Men’s player Nathan Stapleton suffered a significant injury during the second half which led to the match being abandoned,” the club posted to its members on Facebook.
“Unfortunately during contact, Nathan fractured his neck and injured his spinal cord, requiring significant medical assistance. Through an incredible effort from members of each club, Nathan was given first aid until paramedics could arrive.
“Nathan has begun his recovery at hospital in Sydney, and whilst he shows improvement each day the extent of his injuries and long term impact remain unclear. All of our thoughts and prayers are with Nathan, his wife Kate and their family at this time.
“A special thank you to all of the Goldies family, rugby clubs and Boorowa citizens who have offered their thoughts and support. We will continue to support Nathan in the short and long term and we will communicate plans for this in the near future.”
According to reports, a Cronulla Sharks welfare officer has made contact with Stapleton and his young family as he continues to be treated in hospital.
The Daily Telegraph reports a nurse was at the game when Stapleton was injured and was able to give his first aid before paramedics arrived.
The report claims spectators saw Stapleton was turning blue and that a defibrillator was used to treat him on the field.
Stapleton scored 17 tries 61 games for the Sharks and received representative honours when selected for the Prime Minister’s XIII in 2012.
He retired professionally in 2016 after finishing his career with the London Broncos in 2016.