NRL 2023: Souths great Nathan Merritt wakes up from coma, speaks to father

Souths great Nathan Merritt has finally awoken from his coma, after he was placed on life support following a collapse last week.

Newscorp reported that Merritt, who collapsed at his Auntie’s house and was found unresponsive, had awoken from his coma on Friday afternoon and exchanged words with his father at his bedside.

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His family has maintained a bedside vigil at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital with rugby league fans waiting for any information of improvements in the 40-year-old’s condition.

But the news that everyone’s been hoping for has finally happened.

The report says Merritt is in a stable condition and had a conversation with his father.

The cause of the situation is still unknown but it has been reported that Merritt had a serious adverse reaction to prescribed pain medication.

On Sunday, News Corp reported Merritt’s organs have been impacted.

Merritt played in the incident-plagued Koori Knockout event last weekend on the NSW Central Coast where Bulldogs star Josh Addo-Carr was involved in a punch up.

According to News Corp, onlookers at the event have claimed Merritt suffered a concussion during one game.

Merritt has previously played for the same Sydney All Blacks team as Addo-Carr at the annual rugby league event.

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.

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 proud father of five children.

South Sydney’s chief executive Blake Solly has made a brief public comment on the matter.

“Nathan is in the thoughts and prayers of every Rabbitoh at the moment,” he said.

The club also broke its silence, posting on social media on Wednesday.

“Out of respect for the privacy of Nathan and the Merritt family, the Rabbitohs and Souths Cares have chosen not to comment on his situation up until now,” the tweet read.

“We are so happy to hear directly from his immediate family that Merro’s condition is improving. He is being looked after by the best medical practitioners, and he is in the thoughts of everyone connected to the Rabbitohs. It will be a slow recovery, but it’s a battle he’s in with all of our support.

“Keep fighting hard with that South Sydney spirit, Merro! You’re always a Rabbitoh! #974.”

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