Andrew Fifita has reportedly been placed in an induced coma in a Brisbane hospital intensive care unit after suffering a significant laryngeal injury on Sunday.
The Cronulla forward is in a stable condition after being rushed to hospital shortly after the Sharks’ 16-14 NRL loss to Newcastle in Redcliffe.
It’s understood the 2016 premiership hero has severe swelling of the larynx, which is affecting his breathing, prompting doctors to sedate him.
He is due to see specialists to determine the next course of action on Monday afternoon.
Should he undergo surgery it will end his season after playing just six games for the Sharks in 2021.
Fifita copped a blow to the throat early in the second half the round 22 loss and reported trouble breathing, as well as difficulty swallowing and a hoarse voice.
About 20 minutes after the game ended a distressed Fifita was brought out of the dressing sheds and onto the field where he was examined by paramedics before being taken to hospital by ambulance.
Fifita had the support of his wife Nikki in hospital.
The 32-year-old played just 13 minutes of the game, coming off in the 39th minute for a head injury assessment after colliding with Kurt Mann’s shoulder while taking a hit-up.
He was cleared of a concussion in the sheds at halftime, but was taken off the field again in the 46th minute and did not return to the game.
A collision with Newcastle’s Tyson Frizell shortly before Fifita left the field may have could have caused the injury.
While running the ball the Knights second-rower put his palm out to fend off Fifita, contacting him in the neck.
However, the Sharks remain unsure of how the injury occurred.
Former Australia, Tonga and NSW prop Fifita is signed with Cronulla until the end of 2022.