Sam Backo's wife shares brilliant update after league icon's heart attack

The former Raiders and Broncos forward is said to be out of a coma and doing much better.

Sam Backo, pictured here in action for Australia and Queensland.
Sam Backo's condition has improved after he suffered a heart attack. Image: Getty/AAP

Sam Backo's wife has shared a brilliant update on her husband's condition after the rugby league icon suffered a heart attack earlier this month. The former Brisbane Broncos and Canberra Raiders forward was in a critical condition in a Cairns hospital after the serious episode, which saw him placed in an induced coma.

But Backo's wife Chrissy told the Raiders on Wednesday that he's now out of the coma and doing much better. "Sam’s condition is improving on a daily basis," she said in a statement.

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"Sam is no longer in an induced coma and the medical team is confident Sam will continue to improve. Sam’s extended family and I have been overwhelmed and grateful for the heartfelt support for Sam and we have no doubt the prayers and spiritual blessings have helped Sam fight his biggest battle to date.

"I am sure most of you will not be surprised at Sam’s strong spirit and determination to get through this. Thank you for your ongoing concern for Sam and we too look forward to his continued improvement."

Backo's former State of Origin teammate Colin Scott previously told Wide World of Sports: "His wife called me and said he is in a bad way. He is a tough man and always had a big heart so hopefully he can get through it - but it is a real shock."

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Backo played 135 first grade games in a 10-year career from 1980 to 1990. Regarded as one of the toughest front-rowers of his generation, he played 115 games for the Raiders, before a further 20 for the Broncos.

The 62-year-old played seven State of Origin games for Queensland between 1988 and 1990, and represented Australia in six Test matches. In 1990 he became the first Australian forward to score a try in all three Test matches of an Ashes series against England - a feat that no one else ever matched.

Sam Backo, pictured here with Wally Lewis in 1989.
Sam Backo with Wally Lewis in 1989. (Photo by White/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).

Backo was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 for his contributions to rugby league, and was named in the Indigenous Team of the Century in 2001 alongside the likes of Arthur Beetson, Gorden Tallis and John Ferguson. In 2004 he was named in the Canberra Raiders' All Indigenous team.

The news about Backo's improved condition was welcomes by fans on social media on Wednesday. The Raiders tweeted: "Great news with Sam Backo showing some signs of improvement following some recent health issues. We continue to wish Sam all the best in his ongoing recovery."

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