The half sister of former Dockers midfielder Rhys Palmer said doctors had prepared her family for the worst after the “beautiful” 30-year-old was taken into surgery for serious injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident southwest of Perth on Saturday night.
Katie Gallin revealed on Sunday that Palmer – who plays for Swan Districts in the WAFL – was “fighting for his life” in Royal Perth Hospital after doctors had “prepared us for the worst”.
“He made it through the first round of surgery and has got to this morning but even if he survives his physical injuries, there is his brain injury … and how much damage has been done we don’t know yet and if he will ever have quality of life again,” she posted on Facebook.
“Rhys is a beautiful, 30yo boy who has a lot of people who love him and he doesn’t deserve to die today.”
Palmer, from Mount Pleasant, is in an induced coma at RPH after suffering serious injuries when the motorbike he was riding with a female passenger collided with a car in Bicton about 7pm.
WA Police will investigate the crash, when a 2005 black Mitsubishi Lancer turning from Canning Highway onto Murray Road collided with Palmer’s 2007 Yamaha motorbike on Canning Highway.
The footballer suffered serious injuries and was taken to RPH where her underwent emergency surgery.
His WAFL club Swan Districts claimed in a statement on Sunday that Palmer was not to blame for the accident.
“It’s understood that Rhys is now in a stable condition and the passenger has no significant injuries,” Swans chief executive Jeff Dennis said.
“The thoughts of everyone at the club are with both of them and their families at this very difficult time.
“There is no consideration of anything else of at this point in time.”
Palmer’s female passenger, 25, suffered a minor hand injury in the crash and received treatment at RPH, while the 45-year-old Mitsubishi driver suffered minor injuries.
An eyewitness at the crash site said Palmer was put in an ambulance with a neck brace, while his female passenger was lying on the footpath, covered in a blanket.
“It didn’t look good”, the witness told WAtoday.
Palmer’s accident comes after recent media coverage that accused him of throwing shoes on to the Gloucester Park trotting track on Friday night, which the 30-year-old later denied on social media.
The real estate business owner turned to social media on Saturday to “provide some clarity”, where he said “no shoe was deliberately thrown at a horse during any race”.
Addressing the alleged shoe-throwing incident, Ms Gallin said it was “disappointing” people believed the media “bulls-t”.
“Rhys 100 per cent did not throw that shoe,” she wrote.
She said the footage shows a barefoot Palmer and a younger teammate “being dickh—s” but Ms Gallin said her half brother “didn’t throw the shoe, which wasn’t his anyway”.
“It’s only because he has a recognisable face and was unable to flatly deny it publicly,” she wrote.
“He has been harassed, trolled and abused on the phone and through social media.
“It’s absolutely disgusting what my family and I have had to read.”
Palmer was drafted at pick seven by Fremantle in the 2007 national draft and played 53 games before later stints at GWS (69 games) and Carlton (one game).
WA traffic crash investigators have called for witnesses to the crash or anyone who saw either vehicle prior to contact police on 131 444.
Lauren is a casual reporter and producer for WAtoday.