Nathan Merritt receives health update after South Sydney legend was found unresponsive and placed on life support

  • Nathan Merritt has received a positive health update 
  • The former NRL star was found unresponsive over the weekend 
  • Friends say there are ‘encouraging signs’ 

Nathan Merritt’s medical condition has ‘slightly improved’, according to his friends, with the former NRL star in a serious condition following an incident over the weekend.

Former Rabbitohs gun Merritt, 40,  was taken to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Camperdown and placed on life support after being found unresponsive.

Merritt, a father of five, is believed to have had an adverse reaction to consuming prescribed pain medication and collapsed at his aunt’s house where he was staying.

However, family acquaintances have told News Corp that Merritt’s lung capacity has improved over the past 24 hours, while suggesting his internal swelling has decreased.

‘Nathan is still serious and he’s not out of the woods but there is a slight improvement,’ one friend said.

Nathan Merritt has received a positive health update after being placed on life support

The former Rabbitohs star was found unresponsive after collapsing at his aunt's house

The former Rabbitohs star was found unresponsive after collapsing at his aunt’s house

‘There are some encouraging signs which are good. His lung capacity has increased.

‘Hopefully he can get a little bit better every day. It’s a slow process.’

Merritt has been regularly visited by Canterbury and Blues star Josh Addo-Carr, as well as former boxing champion Anthony Mundine. 

Mundine claimed that the combination of pneumonia and playing football at the Koori Knockout may have contributed to his friend’s condition.  

‘He didn’t know he had Pneumonia,’ Mundine said. ‘He kept asking for his puffer every ten minutes because he was finding it hard to breathe from the Pneumonia.’

There is no evidence to suggest Merritt sustained a concussion at the footy tournament. 

Merritt, who retired from the National Rugby League in 2014 after 237 games, is considered one of the greatest players in Rabbitohs history.

Born and raised in Redfern, he started his journey in football as a junior player with the Alexandria Rovers competing in the South Sydney junior competition.

After his retirement, he channeled his passion for the sport into a cause close to his heart, establishing the Nathan Merritt Foundation dedicated to offering guidance and support to Indigenous youth in Sydney.

Friends of the former footy star say there are 'encouraging signs' for Merritt

Friends of the former footy star say there are ‘encouraging signs’ for Merritt

‘Nathan is in the thoughts and prayers of every Rabbitoh at the moment,’ South Sydney CEO Blake Solly said on Saturday morning. 

The incident comes after Merritt pleaded guilty to common assault after repeatedly punching a pub security guard who was trying to help him get home after a drinking session in December, 2022.

His lawyer told the Burwood Local Court it was ‘pure luck’ nobody was seriously injured in the assault and revealed Merritt – who the court was told suffered depression after retiring from football – was so intoxicated he only has vague memories of the attack.

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