Billy could have died from punch, says doctor
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.’’