Our long serving Club Doctor, Dr Katherine Rae with the 4th Grade Premiership trophy

On behalf of all at Sydney University Football Club, we would like to save a huge thank you to Dr Katherine Rae, assissted by our Medical and Physiotherapy team (including and specifically the wonderful support of Shane Kertanegara), on the incredible events that unfolded on Saturday.

We are so proud of you Kath and so blessed to have you part of our team. Thank you.

PARRAMATTA rugby officials have praised the quick-thinking Sydney University club doctor who saved the life of a rising young player with a radical procedure on the field in Sydney on Saturday.

Nineteen-year-old Two Blues player Andrew Vatuvei – cousin of NRL star Manu Vatuvei – was playing for Parramatta’s reserve grade team when he took a blow in his sternum while making a tackle on University Oval no.1.

Vatuvei suffered a punctured lung and the air escaping not only saw the lung collapse, but it began to create life-threatening pressure in his chest cavity.

Sydney Uni club doctor Katherine Rae rushed to the aid of the Parramatta physio staff and after determining Vatuvei’s trouble breathing was due to a tension pneumothorax, she called for a needle to stick in his chest cavity and relieve the pressure

If the procedure had not been attempted, Vatuvei would have gone into cardiac arrest.

CPR was not required but it was almost begun several times while waiting for ambulance crews to attend the scene.

They rushed Vatuvei to RPA Hospital, where he remains.

“He is still getting help with his breathing and is sore but he’s expected to make a full recovery,” Parramatta general manager Michael Bell said.

“The cardiovascular doctors at the RPA told us were it not for the actions of the Sydney University doctor, it could have been a very different story.

“They said she saved his life. We are obviously incredibly thankful, and it really is a great example of everyone just coming together from different clubs and working together to help this kid.”

Bell said Vatuvei was joking on Saturday night he would be back in action in two weeks time.

Dr Rae, who has been working with Sydney Uni rugby club since 1998, told the Daily Telegraph today she was happy she’d picked up the tension pneumothorax, and admitted it was the first time she’d conducted the pressure-relieving – and lifesaving – needle procedure in her medical career.

“He was having a lot of trouble breathing and was in a lot of pain so I am just grateful that I was able to think of that (tension pneumothorax), and we went ahead and it was the right thing,” Dr Rae said.

“I’m obviously very pleased to hear he is doing well.”

Dr Rae said she’d been overwhelmed by the amount of thanks and messages received from Parramatta players and officials.
Parramatta Two Blues posted this update on their Facebook page today:

“The cardiovascular doctor also examined the x-rays and could not see any broken ribs but he said he’ll have a radiologist examine the x-rays tomorrow. Andrew was moved out of emergency to the cardiovascular ward around 8pm where he remains in a lot of pain and when Gerrard Fasavalu and I left at 9pm he was about to be put on the morphine drip.

“He has a drainage tube coming out of his lungs so they can monitor it’s function. The first thing he said to us is that he’ll be right to play against Manly after the bye weekend.

“His Mum and Club have other ideas. Andrew asked to pass on his thanks to those who helped him on field and who came to see him in hospital.

“ He has a long road ahead but we’ll be by his side the whole time. Please also spare a thought for his family and girlfriend.”