HE has been all but ruled out for the rest of the season after being diagnosed with a blood clot in his right eye, but Knights five-eighth Ryan Stig is still smiling.
Instead of being devastated by the news, coming as it did after off-season shoulder, groin and knee surgery, the 22-year-old playmaker is philosophical about the setback and believes he will emerge as a stronger player and person.
A devout Christian whose Twitter profile quotes Philippians 4:13 (‘‘I can do all things through Him who strengthens me’’), Stig will take comfort in his faith while his eye recovers.
‘‘There’s no real treatment for it. I’ve just got to let it heal itself, so I’ll be doing plenty of praying,’’ Stig said yesterday.
‘‘There’s been plenty of stuff, plenty of injuries I’ve come through, I guess, but with anything you go through, it makes you stronger. I’m looking at the positives, and when I come back hopefully my body will be fresher and I’m ready to go.’’
The Nambucca Roosters and Morpeth Bulls product had hoped to secure a place in Wayne Bennett’s NRL squad this season after breaking into first grade under Rick Stone last year.
Stig was judged man of the match in his NRL debut against Penrith at Hunter Stadium on June 18 last season among 13 top-grade games, but he will be stuck on the sidelines when the Knights host the Panthers on Monday and is resigned to spectator status for the rest of the year.
He has not played since Newcastle’s 30-20 loss to Manly in a NSW Cup game at Brookvale Oval on March 31. Concerned about blurred vision he could not shake, he spent four days in hospital last week for tests and to rest. He was told on Monday that he had developed a clot.
Stig said he had to rest until he was cleared to resume training – and that could take several months.
‘‘It’s come on slowly, just over a couple of weeks, and I noticed it got worse and worse,’’ he said.
‘‘I had a bit of blurred vision in my right eye so I went to get it checked out. It turned out – a simple way to put it – that I’ve got a blood clot in my right eye, so it’s pretty serious, I guess.
‘‘I got a bad knock a couple of years ago in my right eye, but personally I don’t think that’s got anything to do with it. It’s just a random thing.
‘‘I’m all right. I’m pretty positive. With anything, there’s always worse off people than you ... .’’
Stig said he would be guided by the Knights’ medical staff and would not return until he was ready. In the meantime, he plans to play a supporting role at training when he can.
‘‘It’s a pretty serious thing, your eye, so I don’t think it will just be me saying I’m right,’’ he said.
‘‘I’d say there will be a fair few boxes I have to tick before I can get back into it.
‘‘I’ll poke around every now and then, but at the same time it might be a bit frustrating if I’m here all the time and not able to train, but I’ll definitely come in and see the boys and that will be good for me.’’