AFL player Majak Daw is recovering in hospital after being injured in a serious incident on the Bolte Bridge, as the AFL community rallies around him.
Daw was rescued by emergency services from the Yarra River about 11pm on Monday and taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The North Melbourne player is now being treated in a hospital emergency department and is understood to have suffered at least one broken hip, as well as other possible fractures.
Jack Fitzpatrick, ex-Hawthorn player and Werribee Football Club coach, said his friend appeared to be happy and looking forward to the future when they recently visited their high school together.
"Less than 3 weeks ago Majak Daw and I went to our high school and spoke at a sports luncheon. He was enjoying footy, in a happy relationship, and looking at buying a house. Hed never seemed more settled," Mr Fitzpatrick wrote on Twitter.
"Could never have seen this coming. Hoping for a quick recovery mate."
In a statement on Tuesday morning, North Melbourne said Daw was in a stable condition.
"The North Melbourne Football Club can confirm Majak Daw is recovering in hospital after an incident last night," the statement reads. "At this stage the full extent of his injuries are unknown, however he is in a stable condition.
"The club is providing full support to Majak and his family and will give a further update when it is in a position to do so.
"We understand the level of interest, but ask the privacy of the player, his family, teammates and staff at the club be respected at this sensitive time."
Friends of the South Sudanese Community also expressed their shock via Twitter.
"We are shocked to hear the news that our brother Majak Daw is in hospital after an incident late last night. We are all with you in thought and prayers. May you have a full and speedy recovery and know the entire Australian community is behind you."
Daw moved to Australia with his family in 2003 and became the first Sudanese-born AFL footballer.
The incident comes in the wake of the best season of Daw's career. The 27-year-old cemented a spot in defence, having spent most of his career as a forward/ruck.
He was ranked by Champion Data – the AFL's official statistician – as the fourth-best defender in the AFL of 2018.
This year he played 18 games to bring up his 50th game in the final round.
It had been expected that Daw would return to full training with the team on January 14 following the Christmas break, after surgery at the season's end to repair a fracture in his foot.
North Melbourne officials were in shock on Tuesday morning upon hearing of the incident, having not been aware of any circumstances that may have led to the situation.
It is understood club officials visited Daw in hospital on Tuesday morning, as current and former AFL players sent messages of support via social media.
An Ambulance Victoria spokeswoman said paramedics had been called to a case in Docklands on Monday night, but they had no further details to release.
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Michael Gleeson is a senior AFL football writer and Fairfax Media's athletics writer. He also covers tennis, cricket and other sports. He won the AFL Players Association Grant Hattam Trophy for excellence in journalism for the second time in 2014 and was a finalist in the 2014 Quill Awards for best sports feature writer. He was also a finalist in the 2014 Australian Sports Commission awards for his work on Boots for Kids. He is a winner of the AFL Media Association award for best news reporter and a two-time winner of Cricket Victorias cricket writer of the year award. Michael has covered multiple Olympics, Commonwealth Games and world championships and 15 seasons of AFL, He has also written seven books – five sports books and two true crime books.
Simone is a breaking news reporter for The Age. Most recently she covered breaking news for The Australian in Melbourne.
Jake Niall is a senior sports writer at 'The Age' specialising mainly in coverage of the AFL. He writes a weekly column for 'The Sunday Age' and has been on staff with since 1995. Jake, who combines original news with commentary, match-based writing, features and analysis, has won a number of awards, including the Alf Brown award for the best performer in AFL media in 2012
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