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Leeds and NRL “icon” facing surgery after heart attack left him in critical condition

Sadly earlier this year a former Leeds player was left in critical condition after a heart attack.

The player in question was 62 year old Sam Backo who suffered a heart attack and was sent to hospital in a serious condition being monitored closely by doctors.

His former teammate Colin Scott said to the Mole of Wide World of Sports: “His wife called me and said he was in a bad way.”

The prop has been described as “an icon” frequently because of what he did in the game as both a Queensland and Australian representative.

Despite being a prop, he was no stranger to to a try especially for Australia scoring close range tries with incredible power.

In fact he scored in all three of the Ashes Tests in 1988 becoming the first forward to do so.

The original Slamming Sam, a nickname taken on by Sam Burgess in recent times.

Like Burgess, Backo spent some time playing in the UK.

He joined Leeds in 1988 making a lovely cameo at Headingley in a short term stint at the club.

He scored a crucial try against Hull FC in the semi-final of the Yorkshire Cup when the Loiners were up against it to give them the lead at a crucial point in the game.

Backo would start the final on the bench helping Leeds pick up the trophy.

Now one of his former clubs the Canberra Raiders has confirmed that he is set for surgery.

They said: “Cairns base hospital has worked tirelessly to stabilise Sam to the stage that Sam travelled to Brisbane where he will undergo a triple bypass on Saturday 20th May, 2023.

“The outlook for Sam is a good one, however, he has up to 6 months of rehabilitation ahead of him and he is no longer employed. The family has decided to set up a Go Fund Me page to help cover the costs of the care and support that Sam needs.

“The continued expression of well wishes, prayers and concern that has been shown to Sam is very humbling and should people wish to donate we would be most grateful.”

To donate to Sam’s recovery appeal click here 

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