Christian Petracca’s Struggles Unveiled Amid Questions About His Treatment

The full extent of Christian Petracca’s severe injuries has been disclosed as the Melbourne superstar recovers from an impact likened to a car crash.

Petracca was struck by Collingwood’s Darcy Moore during a marking contest in the first quarter of Monday’s King’s Birthday clash at the MCG. The 28-year-old sustained four broken ribs, a lacerated spleen, and a small lung puncture, necessitating emergency surgery to stop the bleeding. He has since announced on social media that his 2024 season is sadly over.

Following the incident, Petracca was transferred from Epworth Hospital to the intensive care unit at Alfred Hospital, where he remains as of Thursday. Attention quickly turned to the Demons’ medical staff after Petracca returned to the field in the second quarter, though the premiership winner took responsibility for that decision.

Footy commentator Gerard Whateley raised significant concerns over the “appropriateness” of Petracca’s return to the game, questioning Melbourne’s approach as new details emerged.

The four-time All Australian confirmed he won’t play again in 2024, dealing a significant blow to Melbourne’s campaign. “Thankful for all the love and support I’ve received these past few days,” he wrote on Instagram alongside a photo from his hospital bed. “While my season may have come to an end, I’m grateful I still have the opportunity to give it my all again in 2025. In the meantime, I’ll be cheering the boys on from the sidelines and making some tasty meals in the kitchen.”

Petracca is expected to remain in the hospital for the rest of the week. “This is a really serious situation for Petracca, who was moved from the Epworth to the Alfred on Monday night,” footy reporter Tom Morris said on Channel 9’s Footy Classified. “He had a blood transfusion, the surgery was serious, so much so there were fears at one point he would lose his spleen. In the end, he was diagnosed with a grade five spleen laceration—there’s no grade six—that’s as serious as it gets without actually losing the spleen. He spent the last couple of days in the intensive care unit … he’ll be transferred out of that tomorrow or the next day. I think it’s unlikely he leaves the hospital before the weekend at the absolute earliest.”

Simon Goodwin’s side began the year with wins in six of its first eight games, emerging as a potential flag contender. However, the Dees have lost four of their past five games, falling to 10th on the AFL ladder. With a bye this week and ten matches remaining in the home and away season, Petracca is unlikely to play again this year.

“From a football perspective, it is highly unlikely he plays again this season,” Morris said. “I’m told the best-case scenario is 10 to 12 weeks, which takes us to the end of the home and away season. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of what’s going on. His injuries are comparable to a car crash victim. That’s how serious it is.”

The Demons have emphasized that Petracca’s health and recovery “are our top priorities right now” and had not put any timeline on his return prior to his own announcement. Petracca also took to social media after the incident to state he is “responsible for putting myself out there for those talking about the medicos.”

Whateley has taken issue with the entire process, penning an article on SEN to express his concerns. “After the seven-minute quarter-time break, (Petracca) sat out the first eight minutes of the second term,” Whateley wrote in part. “What treatment was administered in that 15-minute block? When Petracca returned, he played for the next 21 and a half minutes unchanged. The vision showed he was in excruciating pain and looked grey … so obviously unwell that opponents expressed their concern on the field. There were enough hints to fear Petracca’s injuries might be serious, even dangerous, drawing into question the appropriateness of him being on the field rather than further examined to diagnose the nature of his injuries. Hindsight is twenty/twenty but there were enough red flags in real-time to raise serious questions worthy of public debate and official oversight. It’s very difficult to simply swallow the unsubstantiated insistence that all the decisions made were swift and appropriate. Even those involved have surely second-guessed what transpired.”

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