Sean Wainui's death treated as suspected suicide
NEWS: The death of New Zealand Super Rugby player Sean Wainui last week is being treated as a suspected suicide, a coroner said.
Wainui died on October 18 in what police described as a single vehicle accident.
Police said Wainui’s vehicle struck a tree at McLaren Falls Park near Tauranga on the North Island.
In a statement on Tuesday, Coroner Louella Dunn said Wainui’s death is being investigated as a suicide.
The All Blacks performed a haka in tribute to Wainui before their Test match against the United States in Washington on Saturday, pausing for 11 seconds in reference to Wainui’s jersey number.
The 25-year-old Wainui played Super Rugby for the Hamilton-based Chiefs and Christchurch-based Crusaders and was a New Zealand Maori representative.
His death is likely to fuel new concerns about the mental health support available to elite athletes after the suicide earlier this year of Olympic cyclist Olivia Podmore.
The death of the 24-year-old Podmore in August sparked an independent inquiry into how Cycling New Zealand and High Performance New Zealand responded to a 2018 report, which found a culture of bullying and other inappropriate behaviour in the high-performance cycling program.