There has been a positive update following Nathan Merritt’s collapse, with the former South Sydney star’s condition said to have “slightly improved”.
Merritt remains in a serious condition after he was rushed to hospital and placed on life support on the weekend.
Merritt is reported to have been visiting his auntie’s house in Sydney where he collapsed and was found unresponsive.
The report claims Merritt had a serious adverse reaction after he consumed prescribed pain medication.
On Sunday, News Corp reported Merritt’s organs have been impacted.
According to the Daily Telegraph, family and friends said on Monday his lung capacity had improved and his internal swelling had decreased.
“Nathan is still serious and he’s not out of the woods but there is a slight improvement,” one friend said.
“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 played in the recent incident-plagued Koori Knockout event on the NSW Central Coast where Bulldogs star Josh Addo-Carr was involved in a punch up.
He reportedly was suffering from pneumonia at the event and was short of breath.
Merritt has previously played for the same Sydney All Blacks team as Addo-Carr at the annual rugby league event.
Over the weekend his sister Teanne Merritt wrote on Facebook: “On behalf of Nathan and our family, we would like to thank everyone for your well wishes and prayers.
“Nathan is still in a critical condition but he’s a fighter and we are grateful for everyone’s support through this tough time. We will update you when we can.”
The 40-year-old retired in 2014 as one of the most popular players the club has fielded since the turn of the century.
The prolific try scorer ended his 237-game NRL career with 154 tries.
He is among the club’s most celebrated figures after breaking Benny Wearing’s 81-year-old try-scoring record at the club.
Rabbitohs chief executive Blake Solly has made a brief public comment.
“Nathan is in the thoughts and prayers of every Rabbitoh at the moment,” he said.
Merritt was the league’s leading tryscorer for three seasons and was the 9th player in the history of the sport to score 150 total tries.
Merritt made two appearances for the PM’s XIII and scored two tries as well as three games for the Indigenous All-Stars.
He made his only appearance for New South Wales in Game Two of the 2013 State of Origin series.
His retirement in 2014 was a sad moment for the proud club.
Merritt grew up in Redfern and played his junior football with Alexandria Rovers in the South Sydney junior competition. He used his retirement announcement to launch the Nathan Merritt Foundation, which provided support and mentoring for Indigenous youngsters in Sydney.
Merritt is a proud Indigenous man and the father of five children, twins Jade and Jalen, 19, Nakeeya, 15, and twins Honey and Anthony, 9.
Merritt had singled out his children and wife Faith in his retirement announcement.
“I absolutely love playing for South Sydney. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little kid jumping the fence at Redfern Oval to watch guys like Mario Fenech and Craig Coleman run around,” Merritt said.
“But the time has come to call it a day and move on to the next stage of my career, setting up my foundation and supporting the people in Redfern and the South Sydney community.
“I want to thank my wonderful wife Faith and my kids Jade, Jalen, Nakeeya, Anthony and Honey; my coaches and teammates right from my first game for the Alexandria Rovers to today at the Rabbitohs; all of the staff, sponsors and board members over the years from both the Rabbitohs and Souths Juniors; and the members and fans of the Rabbitohs for the support they’ve given me throughout my career.
“I hope I’ve done you proud, and I will always consider myself to be a Rabbitoh.
“I’m still very much part of this year’s squad and we still have plenty of work to do this year, and I’m looking forward to being part of it, and I’m also looking forward to starting this next part of my career.”