NRL fans were left holding their breath on Thursday night after Wests Tigers forward Michael Chee Kam suffered a seizure on the field against Parramatta.
Chee Kam convulsed on the ground following his attempted tackle on Eels second-rower Shaun Lane midway through the first half at Bankwest Stadium.
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Chee Kam's head hit Lane's hip before thudding into the turf, with play stopped for about 10 minutes before he was taken off on a medicab and rushed to hospital.
Club officials said he was conscious following his exit.
“He spoke to everyone before he left. He's gone to hospital to get checked up, but he's OK,” Tigers coach Michael Maguire said post-game.
“It's not nice to have one of your players in that sort of position. Chee's a great character. All the boys are pretty fond of him too.
“They were concerned there, I'd imagine. But he's OK.”
NRL pundits and fans were left shocked by the frightening scenes.
Wests Tigers forward Michael Chee-Kam taken to hospital by ambulance after sickening on-field seizure
— Dean Ritchie (@BulldogRitchie) July 23, 2020
Michael Chee Kam rushed to hospital after suffering a seizure on field. Positive sign is he's conscious now. #NRLEelsTigers
— matt (@mattencarnacion) July 23, 2020
Good news Michael Chee Kam is sitting up and talking. Off to hospital for a check-up #NRLEelsTigers
— BUZZ ROTHFIELD (@BuzzRothfield) July 23, 2020
Oh man this game is so hard to watch. Serious head injuries to both teams. Not much fun watching tonight. #NRLEelsTigers
— Anthony Field (@Anthony_Wiggle) July 23, 2020
Michael Chee Kam in bad, bad way. Awful concussion. Glad scenes that followed not shown inside ground. Eels medicos also helping out ...
— christian nicolussi (@mrchrisnico) July 23, 2020
Thankfully, Wests Tigers officials announced on Friday morning that Chee Kam was heading home from hospital and recovering well.
Good news this morning.
Michael @chee_kam is now home from hospital and recovering well from last night’s incident. He will continue to be monitored closely by the club’s medical staff. 👍 pic.twitter.com/OnMNTQDlSi
— Wests Tigers (@WestsTigers) July 23, 2020
Eels beat Tigers in spiteful affair
Chee Kam was one of three Tigers who failed to finish a willing contest, with Adam Doueihi and Sam McIntyre retiring early with concussion.
Former Tigers second-rower Ryan Matterson was also ruled out of the game after being knocked out by a Russell Packer carry in the 15th minute.
Left with just 14 fit players for the final 35 minutes, Maguire's side showed plenty of character to stay within two tries for most of the second half.
However, Eels winger Maika Sivo put them out of their misery when he claimed his second try in the 65th minute, sending his side to the top of the ladder.
Parramatta star Mitchell Moses made a successful return from injury with a magical solo try, while skipper Clint Gutherson had three try assists.
Tensions between the two clubs hit fever pitch during the week after details emerged of Matterson's apparent ugly split from the Tigers over the summer.
His former teammates did not have to wait long to claim early bragging rights, with Luciano Leilua barging past him to score the opening points in the second minute.
Sivo and opposite David Nofoaluma traded tries thereafter before Matterson was forced from the field after he reeled out of an attempted tackle on Packer.
Gutherson and Moses then took over.
Gutherson put Reagan Campbell-Gillard away on a rare 50-metre run to the tryline before Moses doubled their lead with some old-school individual brilliance.
Eyeing Doueihi out of position in the defensive line, Moses chipped and regathered to give his team a six-point lead at the break.
Gutherson completed a composed performance for the Eels by setting up tries for Lane and Sivo - his 21st in 18 games at this venue - in the second half.
“We knew they were going to want to throw everything at us in the first 20 minutes but yeah, we found a way to win,” Eels coach Brad Arthur said.
“But we've still got a fair bit to work on. It wasn't great.”
Tigers winger Tommy Talau scored a consolation try but to cause further concern for Maguire, Doueihi (shoulder charge) and Packer (crusher) were put on report.