Initially, he had been ruled out for the entire season, before being put on the indefinitely injured list – but now, Storm centre Will Chambers has capped off a remarkable recovery from a rare blood disorder, to come back earlier than previously expected.
It was the advice from ASADA doctors and experts pre-game, that gave the Storm the all-clear to play their strike centre, a player they have been missing in recent times – with the official diagnosis being idiopathic thrombocytopenia.
Chambers received emergency treatment seven weeks ago for the condition, which produces a dangerously low platelet count – with the Storm to continue consulting with ASADA about Chambers, to get clearance and advice on the rare disorder, as they move forward.
“From the moment Will started taking the medication, there has been constant dialogue between our medical staff and ASADA,” football manager Frank Ponissi said.
“I wouldn’t be able to tell you what substances are contained in the medication.
“But our policy is to report it to ASADA. We don’t want to take any chances.”
At first, Storm coach Craig Bellamy was reluctant to risk the centre in the NRL again this year – but given his remarkable recovery, and the clearance from ASADA, the green light was given for him to start.
“He was pretty much back to full cardio training about 10 days after being in hospital, and we reintroduced contact after that,” Ponissi said.
There is one catch however – Chambers has to record a successful and satisfactory platelet count for a blood test, 24 hours before each game.
With an injury as rare as this, it has been seen in NRL before – with former Sharks and Panthers prop Martin Lang, suffering the same illness.