Cronulla Sharks' prop Andrew Fifita was taken to hospital with a throat injury following the club's narrow loss to the Newcastle Knights. Reports on Monday afternoon suggest Fifita has been placed into an induced coma.
A Sharks statement said the incident occurred early in the second half of the game, with Fifita then having problems swallowing and breathing after the game.
The concern was for a fractured larynx, although the Sharks didn't speculate in their statement.
— Danny Weidler (@Danny_Weidler) August 15, 2021
Reports now suggest Fifita has been placed in an induced coma in an attempt to allow him to recover.
Andrew Fifita is in ICU and has been placed in an induced coma.
He is stable. Hopefully time to rest will reduce the severe swelling to allow him to breathe properly. Surgery expected to follow. Thoughts with Andrew and his family.🙏https://t.co/C5SIC8pfdT
— Michael Chammas (@MichaelChammas) August 16, 2021
The enforcer, who has been used mainly off the bench throughout the 2021 NRL season, played just 13 minutes in the game against Newcastle, being collected by contact to the throat.
While the Sharks' statement mentioned the incident occurred early in the second half, Fifita had been left on the ground after a tackle at the end of the first half. He was taken from the field with a HIA, which he passed, before returning to the field for a five-minute window in the second half, but taking no further part in the game.
It's understood the Cronulla enforcer was taken back onto the field post match to be assessed by paramedics before being taken to hospital.
The Sharks' statement read:
"The Sharks can confirm that Andrew Fifita suffered an injury to his throat, following an incident early in the second half of today's match against Newcastle," the statement read.
"After the match Andrew reported difficulty swallowing. He was also noted to have a hoarse voice at this time and his care was escalated to the paramedics with a suspected laryngeal injury.
"He was taken via ambulance to hospital, where a significant laryngeal injury was confirmed.
"Andrew remains in hospital, where he is receiving the best possible care.
"The Sharks will provide further updates when they become available."
Cronulla's loss leaves them two points out of the top eight and with their finals hopes dangling by a thread, with matches against the Tigers (Rockhampton), Broncos (Brisbane) and Storm (Gold Coast) to finish the season.