Young rugby league player dies after falling ill at practice

SYDNEY (AP) — A 20-year-old player from the Manly Sea Eagles National Rugby League squad died in a hospital Monday after falling ill following practice.

The club issued a statement saying Keith Titmuss attended training at Narrabeen in Sydney’s northern beaches in the morning and was later taken by ambulance to a local hospital before being transferred to Royal North Shore Hospital, where he died a short time later.

No further details were released.

“We are all devastated by this news. Keith was a very popular character amongst the playing group,” Manly coach Des Hasler said in the statement. “He will be sorely missed but never forgotten by the Sea Eagles.”

Titmuss rose through the junior ranks of the club and scored the winning try for Manly in the national youth championship in 2017. A promising forward, he was a member of Manly’s 30-strong full-time NRL squad, although he hadn’t played in the national top-flight competition.

“This is a tragic day for rugby league,″ NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said. “The game has lost a promising young player with the world at his feet.

“We are one family and today we have lost a member of that family. On behalf of the (NRL) Commission and the game I send my deepest condolences to Keith’s family.”

Australia’s Nine network, which broadcasts NRL, reported Titmuss experienced body cramps during a 90-minute, non-contact practice session and was treated by a doctor before the ambulance was called.

Manly didn’t qualify for the NRL playoffs in a 2020 season that ended on Oct. 25 after being interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Players who weren’t involved in the recent State of Origin representative series have started pre-season training with their clubs for the 2021 season.

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