A young man who dramatically collapsed at the National Sevens in Queenstown two Sundays ago was still in hospital this week.
Alex Cottier, who works at Alpine Aqualand in Frankton as a lifeguard, has been recovering from surgery in the High Dependency Unit at Dunedin Hospital – it’s understood he suffered a brain aneurism minutes into the National Sevens final.
An update by Cottier’s family on his Facebook page says despite the 20-year-old progressing well, he faces a long road towards recovery which will take about a year, with the first six months being critical.
His sister writes that a pressure monitor for his skull and brain was removed recently and that although a nurse is still monitoring him he doesn’t need as much care as post-surgery.
Cottier is now walking short distances, speaking and eating well despite not favouring the hospital food, his Facebook page says.
St John Queenstown boss Alana Reid confirms the service treated a 20-year-old man at the Sevens, but wouldn’t elaborate on his condition other than to say it was a “medical event”.
Sevens with Altitude operations manager Brad Patterson says he saw security around the victim and thought a punter was being kicked out but within five minutes of security notifying medical staff, three doctors were on the scene.
“It was more serious than we thought – it wasn’t a booze or a sun-related incident but it was a medical event,” he says.
Cottier was to be transferred to a rehabilitation centre in Dunedin this week where he’ll spend two weeks before returning to Queenstown to recover.
“He is sporting some large scars which will be a story for down the track,” his sister says on Facebook.
“When I mentioned that he has all this loving and support on Facebook, he looked very happy,” she writes.
“It was that little bit of reassurance that he needed.”