South Sydney NRL players Dylan Walker and Aaron Gray say they hope lessons can be learnt from their hospitalisation for overdosing on prescription painkillers.
The pair were rushed to St Vincent’s Hospital in a critical condition on Tuesday morning after having trouble breathing.
After being released on Friday, they said their experience should be a warning to others and apologised to their friends and family.
“We’d like to apologise to all our family and friends over the last few days,” Gray said.
“We know it hasn’t been easy. We’d like to say we’ve learnt from our mistakes and we hope everyone can learn lessons – not only rugby league players but people in general.”
Walker said it served as a warning to others not to misuse prescription drugs.
“I’d like to say sorry to our friends and family,” Walker said.
“It’s a mistake we have made and it’s a lesson we have learnt and we hope everyone can take a lesson out of this.”
The pair did not take questions from the media.
Rabbitohs chief executive John Lee said the club had launched an investigation into the incident but many of the details remained murky.
He said the club had not yet established whether they had taken each other’s pain medication.
He said illicit drugs were not a factor but many of the circumstances that led to them nearly losing their lives were unclear.
Lee called for the NRL to introduce a better testing and monitoring regime for prescription drugs.
“What is in place at the moment is good, and the NRL has taken some excellent steps to get more information, especially around prescribed medicines, but it’s not the best in the world and that’s what we’ve got to move to,” Lee said.
Lee said the players had been rattled after nearly dying.
“What struck them the most was the reaction of their families,” Lee said.
“They probably missed a day or two when they were sedated and then to awake to a different environment and to have your loved ones around you quite distraught is a very compelling environment.”