News, Culture & Society

Andrew Fifita’s on-field brush with death sees him only gets one good night’s sleep a MONTH

NRL star Andrew Fifita’s on-field brush with death that left him in a coma has given him nightmares so bad he only gets one good night’s sleep a MONTH

  • Sharks prop Andrew Fifita was injured in a tackle in NRL match last August
  • Fifita, 32, was placed in an induced coma after suffering a laryngeal fracture 
  • Since made a full recovery, but is haunted by nightmares following incident
  • Veteran will chalk up his 200th appearance for Cronulla on Saturday night 

Andrew Fifita knows he cheated death following a serious on-field knock last August – and the scars still remain.

The Cronulla prop, 32, continues to be haunted by a throat injury, with nightmares more common than a good night’s sleep.

Fifita’s horrific injury from a match versus Newcastle in Redcliffe left him in a five-day coma, with blood flooding his lungs.

The premiership winner in 2016 was rushed to a Brisbane hospital intensive care unit with a laryngeal fracture, and plenty feared the worst.

Speaking ahead of his 200th NRL appearance for the Sharks on Saturday night, Fifita revealed he learnt to walk and run again, pushing through a bout of pneumonia to return to what he knows best – playing footy.

‘I’m still working on myself. The nightmares are real,’ the prop told the Sydney Morning Herald.

NRL star Andrew Fifita (pictured with his wife and kids) cheated death following a serious on-field knock last August – and the mental scars still remain

Fifita's horrific throat injury from a NRL match versus Newcastle in Redcliffe left him in a five-day induced coma, with blood flooding his lungs

Fifita’s horrific throat injury from a NRL match versus Newcastle in Redcliffe left him in a five-day induced coma, with blood flooding his lungs

‘Across a month-long cycle, I might have maybe one good dream…the rest are all nightmares.’

Not long after his accident, Fifita developed a fear complex.

Uncertain times followed, with a psychologist showing the former Wests Tigers front-rower how to leap over the mental barriers.

He admitted sometimes he finds his situation ‘horrific’, but the support of family and friends has been invaluable.

The proud Wiradjuri man also can’t wait to celebrate Indigenous Round this weekend, and is equally passionate about promoting the importance of mental health.

As a troubled teenager, Fifita was close to being jailed for stealing offences, and wants to help youngsters in areas such as Griffith and Leeton from the NSW Riverina stay on the right path.

The 2016 premiership winner will celebrate 200 games with the Sharks on Saturday

The 2016 premiership winner will celebrate 200 games with the Sharks on Saturday

Youth suicide is a huge problem in the region, with some children as young as 12 taking their own lives.

‘It almost became a phase where people were following each other into it,’ Fifita said.  

‘It really hurts. It’s hard to express how big a toll that takes in a country town. I just want to tell these kids that there’s always a way to get help.’

Fifita has also wrestled his own demons when it comes to mental health.

In 2014, he was close to hurling himself through a Gold Coast apartment window, only to be saved by his twin brother David.

Stints in rehab followed, and his message to those struggling was crystal clear – ask for help.

If you or anyone you know is in need of mental health support, you can contact Lifeline 13 11 14, Beyondblue 1300 22 4636 or Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk