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‘It was life threatening’: The gruesome details of Cowboys centre Justin O’Neill’s ruptured spleen


Cowboys Assistant Coach David Fairleigh has provided an update on the gruesome injury to centre Justin O’Neil, who was hospitalised after rupturing his spleen during Saturday’s 22-16 win over the Raiders.

The 28-year-old centre sustained the injury after copping a rogue knee from Raiders forward Sia Soliola while scoring a try in the first half.

Incredibly, O’Neill battled through the pain of early-stage internal bleeding, staying on the field for the rest of the match.

“Justin had a really severe spleen laceration, he came home from the game and wasn’t feeling that great and went to bed, luckily his roommate Kyle Feldt found him as he wasn’t well, passing in and out of consciousness,” Fairleigh explains to David Morrow and Mat Thompson on Macquarie Sports Radio.

“He was rushed to Canberra hospital where they did immediate surgery to stop the bleeding, there’s a special procedure where they clog the hole and you have to lay there still for 7 days to give it time to heal,

“It was a very, very serious injury, and without sounding too dramatic, it was life-threatening,”

O’Neill’s wife Chantelle rushed to the hospital to be with her husband as his Cowboys teammates grappled with the dramatic scenes.

“Everyone felt really bad, we all saw the ambulance turn up at the hotel, it’s one of your teammates and you don’t know what to think,” Fairleigh said.

“Luckily we got good news, he got good treatment and he’s doing well, I think he only left Canberra yesterday,”


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