Young league star makes steady recovery after surgery at Christchurch Hospital

Christian Pese is on life support after suffering a stroke. Photo: Givealittle
Christian Pese is on life support after suffering a stroke. Photo: Givealittle
The promising rugby league player who suffered a stroke while representing the South Island in Christchurch is making a steady recovery from the life-threatening medical episode.

Christian Pese, 18, could be released from Christchurch Hospital this week to return to Auckland with his parents Korey and Joanne, a positive sign after he had been placed on life support.

Pese, who is studying law at the University of Otago, collapsed while playing an Auckland side in the national under-20s tournament at Nga Puna Wai on March 14.

Family and friends raced to Christchurch after learning of the incident, while Pese’s eldest brother Caleb arrived in New Zealand on Tuesday to start 14 days in managed isolation.

His trip home from Sydney was made possible by fundraising through a Givealittle page, which had raised more than $32,000 by Thursday.

Pese, who had surgery to relieve pressure on his brain five days after the stroke, was able to eat and drink without the aid of a tube for the first time last Tuesday, a tangible step along the road to recovery.

New Zealand Rugby League is continuing to monitor Pese’s recovery and said the medical episode was not connected to any incident that occurred during the match he was playing.

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