Dylan Walker and Aaron Gray have begun talking with their families and doctors as their recovery from Tuesday’s near-death experience continues.
The condition of the South Sydney pair has improved considerably after they were rushed to hospital in the early hours of Tuesday morning after overdosing on painkilling medication.
In a statement on Wednesday morning updating the situation, the Rabbitohs confirmed Walker and Gray were on the improve.
“The health statuses of its players, Dylan Walker and Aaron Gray, have improved from stable to good overnight,” the statement read.
“Both players are now communicating freely with family and medical professionals.”
“The improvement in the players’ health is a positive step forward for their families, friends and colleagues”.
Earlier Rabbitohs chief executive John Lee said the players were now free of medical equipment which was supporting them after their life-threatening episode.
“Both the players are very alert,” Lee told Sky Sports Radio.
The pair were taken to St Vincent’s Hospital early on Tuesday after a friend noticed the players were seriously unwell at Gray’s apartment in Rosebery and dialled triple-0.
Both had undergone post-season surgery – Walker on his left hand and Gray on his right knee – and were on painkillers.
However, energy drinks were also found at the unit and police and the NRL are now awaiting the results of a toxicology report.
Lee was insistent that Walker and Gray, who are childhood friends, were not abusing the pain killers “for fun” but described their actions as dumb.
“It was a very serious matter. If circumstances had been different, if there hadn’t been another person at the unit we might have been talking about a totally different event today,” said Lee.
He added some level of personal responsibility needed to be undertaken by players and administrators but it was time for a collective approach on the issue.
“Unfortunately I think for Australia, whenever anything goes wrong we all call upon government to come up with a new law or we ask the NRL to have a new rule or to amend a rule,” Lee said.
“But ultimately, people have to look at themselves in the mirror especially if you’re an athlete, or you’re an administrator or you’re a coach and say to yourself `am I doing the best thing for myself’?”
“There needs to be nearly a national conversation about how we’re dealing with different sorts of pains and pressures and what happens in sport.
“I think we’ve got to get real data, we’ve got to get the athletes involved with the professionals and debate what is the problem.”