Sam Mitchell breaks silence on hospital ordeal as Hawthorn coach arrives home

The 41-year-old was taken to hospital in New York after a nasty bout of pneumonia while on holidays with his family.

Seen here, Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell and his family.
Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell has spoken about his health scare on holidays with family in New York after arriving home on Friday. Pic: Getty/Seven

Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell admits he's in "no rush" to return to full-time head coaching duties at the AFL club after a nasty health scare while holidaying with his family in New York. The 41-year-old arrived home to Australia on Friday and spoke briefly about the nasty bout of pneumonia that left him in hospital in the United States over the festive period, including on Christmas day.

“Feeling OK. Feeling better. It’s a long flight so you’re not getting me at my best, but I’m recovering, feeling better,” Mitchell told Seven News on Friday. The 41-year-old said he was not quite ready to go into full detail about his ordeal in New York but indicated he would elaborate on the health scare when he had recovered. Mitchell was discharged from hospital after the new year but had to remain in the United States for several more days until he was deemed well enough to fly home.

'SOMETHING MISSING': Ugly new development amid drama at Demons

'UNCONVENTIONAL': Cam Guthrie turns to peculiar sport for injury recovery

“The story will come out in due course, (I’m) probably not ready to quite talk about it yet but it was a few rough days,” Mitchell said. “Spent a few days in hospital. My wife was juggling three kids in a hotel in a foreign city and me being in hospital. I think it was seven nights in the end.”

Mitchell said the medical system "was fantastic" and praised doctors and staff at the New York University Hospital, where he was admitted. “A lot of really good people helped,” Mitchell added. “The medical system was fantastic over there and I’m fortunate to be home and pleased to be home.”

Hawthorn's GM of Football Rob McCartney praised the "amazing" role Mitchell's wife Lyndall played in managing his recovery, while juggling parental duties with their three children in a foreign country. He also confirmed the Hawks coach was set to return to pre-season training with the playing group on Monday, in a "phased" approach aimed at easing him back into head coaching duties.

Pictured right is Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell and wife Lyndall.
Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell's wife Lyndall has been praised for her response to his health ordeal in New York. Pic: Getty

“His wife Lyndall did an amazing job in caring for Sam while he was in hospital, but while also managing three kids over in New York," McCartney said this week. "We want to make sure that we continue to provide that great care that Lyndall did when he was away, when he gets back...

“We expect him to be back in our program early on Monday, he won’t spend full weeks in our program initially when he gets back. When we get a line of sight and an eye on Sam we’ll have a bit better of an indication as to where he is at."

Sam Mitchell in 'no rush' to return to full-time coaching


Mitchell revealed he'd been kept updated about the Hawthorn playing group's return to pre-season training this week and is "happy with how the boys have come back". While the 41-year-old is keen to re-join the Hawks squad and help them prepare for the coming season, he's mindful about not rushing back too soon after the hospital ordeal.

“I feel pretty good. I mean, just got off a flight, so not great, but I’ll start to recover now and see how I come down after this flight, and make sure I’m feeling OK, and get back and get back to work eventually, but no rush,” he added. “I’m really happy with how the boys have come back, I’ve obviously been getting regular reports.”

Hawthorn officials will ease Mitchell back into the head-coaching role based on advice from medical professionals who've been treating the coach, as well as the club's own club doctors. “He was really unwell there for a few days, obviously in hospital during that Christmas period, so we’re just ensuring that we take a phased approach with him coming back," McCartney said. "We want him at 100 per cent fitness as quickly as possible instead of maybe coming back a little bit early and doing a little too much and having that linger for a while.”

Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.