Billy could have died from punch, says doc­tor

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - CHRIS­TIAN NICOLUSSI

ONE of the coun­try’s lead­ing sports doc­tors last night said Billy Slater was lucky he did not end up in a coma af­ter be­ing knocked out by one of rugby league’s most sick­en­ing hits in years.

Dr Peter Larkins was stunned when he watched re­plays of Sia So­li­ola belt­ing the Mel­bourne Storm No. 1 across the jaw on Satur­day night — and even more amazed match of­fi­cials re­fused to send So­li­ola from the field. So­li­ola will front the NRL ju­di­ciary tonight where he is ex­pected to be rubbed out the rest of the sea­son. Larkins, the Mel­bourne- based physi­cian who works closely with the AFL, said Slater was lucky to es­cape with only a con­cus­sion.

“That’s the sort of thing that not only breaks a jaw and gives con­cus­sion, it kills peo­ple,’’ Larkins said.

“In terms of player safety and duty of care to the head, which is such a fo­cus, if that tackle is not a send- off, then what is? That would be my ques­tion to the NRL.

“It’s such a bad look for the NRL.

“From a med­i­cal point of view, it can be any­thing from a sore jaw to death.”

“If that had hap­pened at the MCG yes­ter­day with a Collingwood player, there would be a min­i­mum of six to eight weeks out of the game for the of­fend­ing player.’’

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