Heart surgery for Fruean
Crusaders centre Robbie Fruean will undergo heart surgery, but he could return to the game again.
The Crusaders revealed on Sunday that centre Robbie Fruean will undergo heart surgery, but held out hope that he could return to the game again.
Fruean has withdrawn from the game for the rest of the year, as he is set to undergo heart surgery.
The 24–year–old Fruean requires a further valve replacement as a result of rheumatic fever he suffered as 20-year-old.
His cardiac function has been slowly deteriorating over the last six months and his specialist has recommended further surgery at this point.
Crusaders doctor Deborah Robinson said the decision to withdraw from the game and undergo surgery came after he was closely monitored over the past few months.
"In conjunction with his specialist team, the decision has been made to withdraw him from the remainder of the season and to have surgery," Robinson said.
"While Robbie is facing major surgery he is otherwise fit and healthy which should stand him in good stead for his recovery."
Head Coach Todd Blackadder said he is fully behind Fruean.
"Robbie is a true inspiration to us all," Blackadder said.
"He is positive about his upcoming surgery and is looking forward to getting his recovery underway.
"The Crusaders will miss his presence on the field plus all the laughter he brings to the team off the field.
"However we are fully behind Robbie and our thoughts and prayers are with him.
"I have no doubt that if the surgery goes well Robbie will be back next year and will be a force to be reckoned with.
"He is a fantastic rugby player.
"I know it's been frustrating for him over the last few months that his body has not been able to perform to level he would like it to."
Fruean's career had to be put temporarily on hold in 2009 when his pancarditis was first identified following rheumatic fever and he underwent open-heart surgery.
It didn't hold him back for long though and in his debut season with Canterbury in 2010 NPC he was the joint leading try scorer and NPC Player of the year 2010 and 2012.
He was selected for the Crusaders in 2010 and with 61 caps under his belt has racked up an impressive 80 points.
Prior to his elevation to Super Rugby the centre also represented New Zealand in the 2007 Under-19 championship-winning side. He also won the IRB Under-19 Player of the Year 2007.
Following surgery Fruean is likely to be in hospital for four to five days and it is expected that he can start gentle exercise within six weeks of surgery.