AFL player Polak wakes from coma - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL player Polak wakes from coma

30/06/2008 08:58:42 PM Comments (0)

AFL footballer Graham Polak woke from an induced coma on Monday and has responded to simple requests in hospital after being struck by a tram.

Doctors were pleased by Polak's improvement but said it was too early to tell if he would suffer permanent brain damage.

The Richmond defender suffered brain bruising and was placed in the coma after being left deeply unconscious when he was hit in the Melbourne suburb of Armadale about 11.30pm on Saturday.

Richmond club doctor Greg Hickey said it was hoped the 24-year-old would soon be moved from the intensive care unit at the Alfred Hospital to a ward.

"There are no tubes, no drugs in him, he has not been sedated and at the moment is sleeping most of the time," Dr Hickey told reporters.

"He has opened his eyes and has squeezed a hand when requested today ... it means a few pathways are intact."

Dr Hickey said these were positive signs and he was improving all the time but there was still a "long way to go".

"It's uncertain whether he will make a full recovery, it's a bit of a long haul," he said.

Polak suffered life-threatening brain injuries when he was struck by the tram as he crossed Dandenong Road in inner-suburban Armadale.

He is in a serious but stable condition.

The Alfred's trauma director Mark Fitzgerald said today Polak was fortunate paramedics arrived at the scene quickly.

Dr Fitzgerald said Polak appeared to have no brain swelling at this stage.

"Without going into any great detail, he's had quite a severe blow to the head he was deeply unconscious at the scene, he's got some areas of brain injury on his scan, but he's a young person, he's very fit," he told Fairfax Radio.

"We expect him to recover over the next few weeks. It'll take some time before we can be absolutely positive of a good outcome, but he's doing very well."

His mother, Judy, and three brothers flew to Melbourne from Perth to join his partner, Alyce Oksuz, at his bedside.

Team mates Cleve Hughes and Jordan McMahon were with Polak at the time of the accident which came on the same weekend as Richmond's centenary celebrations.

Richmond president Gary March said the accident would be investigated by police.

"The club's main concern is Graham's health and supporting his family and supporting our players, a number of whom were at the scene," he told reporters today.

"Graham's been a fantastic young man since he's come down here and we are particularly concerned for Cleve and Jordan who were at the scene.

"We've got a good support network down here ... experts in the field, obviously it's affected all our staff, not just the playing group."

Richmond players were briefed on Polak's condition by football director Greg Miller and another meeting will be held for all club staff today.

Polak has played 106 AFL matches and was part of the team which lost to Carlton on Saturday at the MCG.

Polak was on Monday night moved out of intensive care and into a ward, a spokesman from The Alfred hospital, John Heselev, said.

Polak was transferred out of the intensive care unit about 6.15pm (AEST) and is now in a satisfactory condition, he said.

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