QLD End Of Year Footy Trip Ends In Tragedy For Melbourne Man
An end of season football trip has taken a terrifying turn for a Victorian man, now in a coma in Queensland suspected of taking a dangerous mystery drug.
Riki Stephens and his Heathcote Saints teammates were on the Gold Coast when he ingested a drug at a pub at the weekend, club president Andrew Conforti told AAP.
It's suspected Mr Stephens may have taken "flakka", a synthetic stimulant believed to be behind 16 people being hospitalised after becoming aggressive, non-compliant and dangerous.
The well-liked footballer had finished playing his first season with Heathcote, recruited from Melbourne, when he went on the ill-fated holiday.
Mr Conforti said about nine players, including Mr Stephens, are believed to have taken the drug in two separate groups.
"It's disappointing, but unfortunately they decided to try something and they're now paying the price," he said.
Mr Stephens' parents and girlfriend were by his bedside, Mr Conforti said.
Police are awaiting toxicology tests to formally identify the substance which has resulted in users hallucinating and exhibiting bizarre behaviour.
AAP / Image: Facebook