Joel Dark, the cousin of NRL player Boyd Cordner, has died in hospital after a horrifying accident during a rugby league match last weekend.
Cordner was allowed to leave the NRL’s hub to be with family after Dark, 19, was rushed to hospital in an ambulance and underwent two surgeries.
'REAL SHOCK': NRL great lifts the lid on devastating family tragedy
The accident occurred in Dark’s first-grade debut for Newcastle Central, with a head-knock prompting a seizure on the field.
A teammate attempted CPR before Dark was taken to hospital.
NSW Rugby League issued a statement on Friday afternoon, confirming the tragic news.
“The NSW Rugby League is saddened to hear of the tragic passing today of Central Newcastle player Joel Dark,” the statement said.
“Joel, 19, had been in a critical condition in John Hunter Hospital since he collapsed on field during a Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League First Grade match against Western Suburbs at St John Oval on Sunday 6 September.
“The family has requested that their privacy be respected during this very difficult time.
“They have expressed their gratitude to the Central Newcastle Rugby League Football Club, staff at the John Hunter Hospital and all those who have assisted and supported the family during this time.
“The Newcastle Rugby League has postponed all fixtures for this weekend out of respect for Joel and his family.
“The NSWRL and the Rugby League community extend their most sincere condolences to Joel’s family.”
Support pours in for family after NRL tragedy
Dark suffered the horrifying injury in front of family members and friends during the second half of Sunday's match against Western Suburbs.
The game was abandoned in the immediate aftermath of the incident.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist Dark's family with medical expenses associated with the tragic accident.
So far more than $70,000 has been raised towards a target goal of $80,000.
The club's president Heath Anderson says counselling has been offered to players and spectators after the latest shocking incident to rock the organisation.
“We had an incident a couple of years ago, a player similar to Joel in a fairly serious predicament in hospital after an incident,” Anderson said.
“We had players in tears because it was out on the field. The other team who they played is quite distraught.”