Australia

Next few days critical for Lynagh

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 00:00
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Australian legend Michael Lynagh remained in a critical condition with swelling on the brain Friday, following a severe stroke doctors described as rare for someone his age.

Lynagh, a former Wallabies captain and World Cup winner regarded as one of the sport's all-time greats, was rushed to hospital on Monday this week with headaches and blurred vision.

The 48-year-old suffered a "cerebellar and occipital lobe stroke" due to a blocked vertebral artery, said Rob Henderson, his neurologist at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

"This significant stroke is a rare event for someone of Michael's age," Henderson said in a statement, describing Lynagh's condition as critical yet stable.

"The next few days are critical because of swelling in the region of the brainstem, but current signs are positive," he added.

The stroke had affected Lynagh's vision, co-ordination and balance, Henderson said.

Lynagh's father Ian said the family was confident he was "in the very best of hands" and thanked the public for their "overwhelming" well wishes and support.

Lynagh, who is based in Britain and was in Australia on a visit when he fell ill, won 72 caps for Australia in the 1980s and 1990s as well as having a distinguished state career for Queensland.

He was part of Australia's Grand Slam winning team in 1984 and a key player in the Wallabies' 1991 World Cup win.

Lynagh captained Australia from 1993 to 1995 and held the world points scoring record when he retired with 911. He also held the world record for most conversions (140).

He went on to play for Saracens in England and has had a successful career as a marketing director since his retirement from rugby.

Friends said he had stayed fit and expressed shock at his stroke, which they described as a "bolt out of the blue."

The full statement from Dr Rob Henderson, the RBWH Neurologist: "Michael Lynagh is in a critical, but stable condition at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital Intensive Care Unit.

"Michael has suffered a cerebellar and occipital lobe stroke due to a vertebral artery occlusion. This stroke has affected his vision, coordination and balance.

"An occlusion of an artery is a complete blockage in blood flow. The blockage can be due to a blood clot that comes from the heart or a split in the artery wall; the latter is believed to be the cause in Michael's case.

"This significant stroke is a rare event for someone of Michael's age.

"The next few days are critical because of swelling in the region of the brainstem, but current signs are positive.

"He is being cared for by a Neurologist, Neuroradiologist, Neurosurgeon and Intensive Care staff."

The statement of Ian Lynagh, Michael's father: "On behalf of Michael, I would like to thank the public and his friends for their well wishes and the overwhelming support for Michael. It has been a difficult few days and it is reassuring to know that there are so many people who care.

"The Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital staff continue to do an excellent job and we know he is in the very best of hands."

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