Revealed: The worrying reason Raiders forward Corey Harawira-Naera suffered a seizure on the field despite not being involved in a tackle before sickening scenes shocked footy world
The Canberra Raiders have revealed exactly why star forward Corey Harawira-Naera suffered a seizure on the field with no one around him in sickening scenes that left the footy world in shock.
Harawira-Neara collapsed and was seen convulsing on the field in Canberra's 33-26 win over South Sydney on Saturday night, with the 28-year-old lying on the turf for several minutes as he was attended to by Raiders medicos before he was rushed to hospital.
Fortunately he was discharged from hospital in the early hours of Sunday morning, though in a video released by the club admitted he was 'back on the mend, but not in the clear yet'.
The distressing scenes left players, fans and broadcasters in shock given the fit came while he was standing alone and not after any heavy contact.
As the impacts of concussion and brain disease CTE (which can only be diagnosed after death) continue to rear their ugly heads in ex-AFL and NRL players, head injuries, and the way they are treated, continue to come under scrutiny.
Raiders CEO Don Furner Jnr revealed that Harawira-Neara's seizure was as a result of three minor head knocks, as the footy community rallies around the star, who faces at least a month after the game.
'What they've (medical staff) found is two or incidents leading up to it, that the doctor has said, "They could be minor, but they reduce your threshold",' the legendary footy boss said of the incident.
'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.'
The 123-game second-rower is now recovering back in Canberra with family, and Raiders officials are confident there was no foul play or significant head contact behind the shocking incident after pouring through footage of the game.
Club medicos, chief medical officer for the NRL, Dr Sharron Flahive - a well-known sports medicine veteran who spent many years with the Wallabies - and neurologists are working together on Harawira-Neara's recovery to ensure he returns to the game safely.
But of course the main focus is on the veteran's welfare, not his playing career.
Shocked and 'upset' teammates and opponents encircled the star as he was receiving treatment on the ground to give him privacy in a touching show of solidarity.
NRL Immortal Andrew Johns lauded the players, broadcasters and Canberra coach Ricky Stuart for the way they dealt with the scary situation.
'It (Harawira-Neara's fit) didn't look good. I've got to say well done to the players, the way they formed a guard and ... well done to the broadcasters, they didn't get in close and show the situation he was in because I'd imagine it was quite graphic,' he told Wide World of Sports.
'He's in good hands, the medical staff, the way they treated him on the field with kid gloves.
'And I thought Ricky Stuart, the way he came down to the field to care for his players, he's in great hands, they won't rush him back.'
Johns, one of the game's most recognisable figures and commentators, said it was clear from the outset that players were distressed at the situation; which highlighted the fact that, at the end of the day, footy isn't the be all and end all.
'The look on some of the players' faces, it went up close on Albert Hopoate and you could see Albert, just the concern in his face,' he said.
'We all love footy as it's the number one thing in their life, you realise when this happens that health is number one so hopefully he'll be back this year, I'd imagine he will be back.'
Hopoate was indeed distressed.
He is very close mates with Harawira-Neara, and roomed with him for three years, and admitted he was shell-shocked over the incident.
'Obviously it was pretty scary at the time,' Hopoate told AAP after the match.
'You don't expect anything like that to happen, especially in a game. There aren't many words.'
Get well soon big fella. Obviously there are more important things in life than football. 💚💚💚 https://t.co/AqrxUZ0TTK— Raiders Review with Blake & The Pork Podcast (@blakeandthepork) May 28, 2023
In the video released by the club on Sunday, Harawira-Neara thanked the NRL community for its support, and said he was looking forward to returning to the footy field.
'I'm back on the mend, not in the clear yet but we'll get some more scans and sort it out,' he said.
'Health comes first but I'm obviously hoping to get back on the field as soon as possible as well.
'I've been pretty fortunate to receive a lot of messages about what happened last night.
'I'm doing a lot better now, so love to you all.'
The seventh-placed Raiders will look to continue their strong recent form on Friday night, when they head back up the Federal Highway to face the Tigers.