Luke Saunders scores a try for Southern Suburbs.
Luke Saunders scores a try for Southern Suburbs.

Injured footballer shows improvement

INJURED Cairns footballer Luke Saunders has shown major signs of improvement since a stray blow to the throat left him in hospital.

Saunders, who the player-coach and president of Cairns District Rugby League team Southern Suburbs, was playing in a trial game against Herbet River Crushers at Ingham when he the accidental contact was made.

The tackle, described as innocuous by those at the game, occurred in the first half.

Saunders played no part in the second half due to the injury but, still feeling discomfort after returning to Cairns hours later, took himself to hospital.

He was flown to Townsville Hospital, where he was placed in an induced coma to help the injury heal.

On Tuesday, three days after he suffered the injury, Saunders has shown major improvements.

A post on Southern Suburbs' Facebook page said he was awake and breathing unassisted.

"He is breathing unassisted and communicating with his family and medical staff," the post read.

"Luke has damaged the cartilage in his throat which, has swelled and restricted his breathing.

"They are still unsure of when he will return home."

Saunders has dedicated much of the past few years to Southern Suburbs.

He played for Suburbs when he was called up to the Northern Pride's squad at the end of 2011, and spent two seasons in the Queensland Cup team's system before he returned to his beloved club.

He is currently a player, first grade coach and president of the Alley Park, Gordonvale, club.