It’s going to be a long road back to ever playing rugby league again, but finally Andrew Fifita is able to talk after suffering a horrific throat injury in Cronulla’s clash with Newcastle over a week ago.
Fifita conducted his first interview with the Daily Telegraph since that moment as the barnstorming prop described the awful effects of what happened to him.
Upon waking from the induced coma, Fifita called for his wife in the ICU ward of the Royal Brisbane Hospital.
“Where’s my wife (Nikki)?’’ Fifita asked doctors.
“It’s been an hour and she said she was only five minutes away.’’
The doctor responded and said: “You know it’s Friday?”
“You’ve been in hospital in a coma for five days.’’
It’s now been over a week since Fifita was hit with an elbow to the throat which fractured his larynx, with the prop still overcome with emotion.
“I’ve been through a lot of trauma,’’ Fifita says through tears.
“I’ve felt scared. I’ve been an athlete at the highest level, but now I have to rebuild myself.
“I have learned how to talk again, walk again, but I can only walk 20 metres down the hallway because they’re (nurses) worried I’ll collapse.
“It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever been through, to place this stress and pressure on Nikki and the kids, I feel like I’m a failure.
“I only brought the kids here (hospital) for the first time on Sunday because I don’t want them to see me like this. It’s too scary for them.”
Currently, Fifita has to speak through a tracheostomy tube, with his speech only returning at the weekend.
He pushes a button on the tube that releases air to pass through his vocal chords, but Fifita is hopeful that will be removed in the next couple of weeks.