Welkom club rugby player remains critical after heart stops during game

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Jaco Weideman (Netwerk24)
Jaco Weideman (Netwerk24)
  • A Welkom Rugby Club player remains in a critical condition after a freak accident in a club game on Saturday.
  • Jaco Weideman's heart stopped after he came off the field during a club fixture between Welkom Rugby Club and Welkom Rovers.
  • He was transported to the Mediclinic Welkom, from where he was airlifted to Bloemfontein for more medical attention.

Welkom Rugby Club player Jaco Weideman remains in a critical but stable condition after being involved in a freak on-field accident on Saturday.

Netwerk24 reported on Monday that the 21-year-old Weideman's heart stopped several times during the second team game between Welkom Rugby Club and the Welkom Rovers on Saturday.

Stephan Pretorius, Welkom Rugby Club's first-team coach, confirmed the incident to Sport24 on Tuesday. The coach hoped that Weideman, who went to Goudveld High School in the Northern Free State mining town, had improved after his initial prognosis.

Pretorius was preparing the first team when the incident took place.

"His condition is critical but stable. However, he is also on dialysis for his kidneys and there's a problem with his liver, heart, and brain," Pretorius said.

"He's struggling, but I will get more information on his condition today because one doesn't know what happened during the night.

"We're praying he was stable through the night and there's some sort of recovery for this morning."

Pretorius, who is also a BokSmart coordinator, said they've already compiled the serious injury report and sent it to SA Rugby.

Pretorius said he was told that Weideman was tackled, and with the ball on his chest, a ruck was formed.

He added that Weideman came off the field shortly after that passage of play, from where he complained of breathing difficulties.

"He was tackled, from where a ruck was formed but the ball was apparently stuck under his chest," Pretorius said.

"The guys then went on top of him and at the time, that's what we thought was the problem with regards to trauma on his heart.

"He was actually fine after the incident and there was a shot at goal after that, from where he was replaced.

"When he came off, he said to his coach he was struggling to breathe, but the medical services attended to him immediately before he collapsed.

"They spent 20-25 minutes trying to get his heart going again from where the trauma unit arrived, got his heart going, and rushed him to the Welkom Mediclinic

"His condition deteriorated and [he] was flown to Bloemfontein. I have no idea why his liver and kidneys failed."

Griffons president Randall September and CEO Eugene van Wyk also confirmed to Sport24 that they were aware of the incident.

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