World Cup heroes hospitalised

Former Springbok Joost van der Westhuizen and Ruben Kruger are in hospital following two unrelated incidents.

Van der Westhuizen was rushed to Sunninghill Hospital after he collapsed at his Johannesburg home shortly after returning from Saturday’s second Test between South Africa and the Lions at Loftus Versfeld.

The 38-year-old’s publicist Bridget van Oerle said he had returned from the stadium when he collapsed with chest pains.

Mike Bolhuis – Van der Westhuizen’s private investigator – said he had been spending time with some guests on Saturday night, even though he had complained he was not feeling well several times earlier.

‘At times he held his chest,’ Bolhuis told Afrikaans newspaper the Beeld. ‘When the guests were ready to leave at about 23:00, Joost walked them to their car. Along the way, he suddenly collapsed. Luckily the people who were there with him know a lot about first aid.

‘They did mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while they waited for the paramedics. At that stage, Joost was not breathing. In laymen’s terms, he was dead.’

‘He was taken to the hospital where he was admitted to the intensive care unit. He was attached to life support machines.

‘On Sunday morning his condition had improved slightly, and the ventilator was switched off. Joost regained consciousness, but is not able to speak, and can’t remember a thing. To tell you the truth, he’s not responding at all yet,’ said Bolhuis.

According to Oerle Van der Westhuizen is in a serious but stable condition and the cause of the incident, as well as what damage has occurred, during the course of the week.

The admission of Van der Westhuizen to hospital came just hours after his former 1995 World Cup and Blue Bulls team-mate Ruben Kruger was rushed to Pretoria East Hospital in a critical condition following a car accident.

Ronel Leyds, a spokeswoman for Pretoria East Hospital, said Kruger, who recently had a brain tumour removed, was in a serious but stable condition after he was rushed to ICU following the crash.

According to an emergency worker who attended to the accident the crash took place when Kruger and his wife, Liza and two daughters Zoe (six) and Isabella (four) were on their way to their Silverlakes home following Saturday’s Test.

The former Springbok flank apparently lost consciousness and smashed into several cars before his vehicle ended up in a ditch.