22 Jul 2015

Chiefs coach speaks from hospital bed

2:06 pm on 22 July 2015

The Chiefs and Manu Samoa assistant rugby coach Andrew Strawbridge has spoken publicly for the first time since his near-death experience, thanking the doctor that he credits with saving his life.

Chiefs assistant coach Andrew Strawbridge

Chiefs assistant coach Andrew Strawbridge Photo: Photosport

Strawbridge became critically ill with an eye infection on a flight on route to Apia and was airlifted home to Hamilton last week.

Strawbridge has been moved out of intensive care and onto a ward.

The Chiefs Super Rugby assistant, who remains in a stable condition in Waikato Hospital, said: "I am extremely grateful to Dr David Galler and his team for saving my life."

"I have a beautiful wife, three wonderful children and a very special mother and sister who still have me here thanks to Dr Galler and his wonderful team at Moto'otua National Hospital in Samoa and the team at Waikato Hospital."

"It is only now that the events of the last two weeks have become clearer and I now realise how fortunate I am to be here."

Strawbridge said he knows the road back to full recovery will be a long and challenging one.

He said his family has been overwhelmed by the support for the Givealittle appeal for equipment for the Moto'otua National Hospital ICU, which has already raised over $24,000.

"I want to thank everyone who has generously donated and hope people continue to support it."

He said the messages of support from family, friends, the Chiefs whanau, the Manu Samoa aiga, New Zealand Rugby, and complete strangers, have been very touching.

He also had a dig at some factions of the media.

"We also appreciate those media outlets who have respected our family's privacy in what has been an absolute rollercoaster ride, and those who did not film me on life support when my children and mother had not seen me in that state."

The doctor who is attributed for saving Strawbridge's life spoke from his Intensive Care Unit in Samoa to welcome the news of the coach's recovery.

"All of us who work for the Samoan National Health Service are thrilled that Andrew Strawbridge is on the road to recovery," said Dr Galler. "I know that the prayers of many are for Andrew in the hope and expectation that his recovery will be swift and complete."

Dr Galler said they are grateful to the Strawbridge Family for launching the appeal to improve the services they can offer at the nation's only Intensive Care Unit.

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