The Dragons will be without fullback Cody Ramsey for at least the 2023 season after the club ruled him out for the year while he recovers from ulcerative colitis illness.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported Ramsey has been told he will not be able to play rugby league for at least the next 12 months, which will rule him out until the 2024 pre-season at the earliest.
Dragons officials told the Herald on Wednesday Ramsey would not be available to play in 2023, but the club are hopeful the 22-year-old will return to rugby league in the future.
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Ramsey, who has scored 14 tries in 36 games since his debut in 2020, was tipped to be the Dragons’ starting fullback in 2023, before the illness took hold.
The young gun has undergone several operations over the last few months and is scheduled to undergo further treatment over the next 12 months as he bids to return to the sport.
The disease is often caused by an immune system malfunction, causing inflammation and ulcers on the bowel and digestive tract.
Ramsey first experienced symptoms during a 10-kilometre run during the pre-season and was taken to hospital, where he remained for several weeks, before being diagnosed with the condition.
Ramsey faces a long road to return to first grade, but wants to be around his teammates during his recovery.
“Our focus will be on Cody’s medical rehabilitation and wellbeing in the first phase,” a club spokesperson told the Herald.
“From there we’ll work towards what the future looks like for him. He’s been in and around training with the players and coaches recently and is having a hugely positive impact on all of us at the club.
“Cody is a great character who is one of the most passionate, popular and respected members of our club and will have a significant impact on the success of the team over the coming season.”
Under NRL rules, the club is only eligible for salary cap dispensation either through medical retirement or through the representative injury dispensation.
Ramsey doesn’t qualify for either, but the club is reluctant to shatter his dreams to return to the NRL by medically retiring him at this stage.
Tyrell Sloan is now a leading candidate for the fullback jersey for Round 1, with Moses Mbye another option for coach Anthony Griffin.
Originally published as Illness rules Dragons star Cody Ramsey out for 2023, career in doubt
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