‘Improving and recovering well’: Sam Mitchell spends Christmas in US hospital with pneumonia scare
Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell is recovering in a New York hospital after contracting pneumonia while travelling in the US.
Mitchell suffered the illness on holiday with wife Lyndall and his three children late last week, forcing him to spent Christmas in New York University Hospital and delaying his return to Australia.
While the 41-year old is expected to make a full recovery, he is expected to need to remain in hospital for several more days before being deemed fit for release.
Speaking to The Age, Hawks CEO Ashley Klein said Mitchell is ‘improving and recovering well’, while thanking hospital doctors for their care.
The club has been in regular contact with Lyndall, and we will obviously continue to provide support in any way we can,” Klein said.
Mitchell, who won four premierships as a player at the Hawks, including as captain in 2008, took over in acrimonious circumstances from the legendary Alastair Clarkson at the end of the 2021 season, after a coaching succession plan instigated by then-president Jeff Kennett turned sour.
Touted as favourites for the wooden spoon in both his first two seasons, especially after controversially offloading experienced midfielders Jaeger O’Meara and Tom Mitchell in the 2022 Trade Period – the latter went on to feature in Collingwood’s 2023 premiership win – the Hawks have defied expectations under Mitchell’s watch.
In 2022, they finished 13th with an 8-14 record, while they only marginally regressed in 2023 to finish 16th with seven wins and 16 losses.
Their wins included defeating both eventual grand finalists Brisbane and the Magpies, as well as another eventual finalist in St Kilda; however, eight losses by 54 points or more was reflective of the steep improvement the Hawks will need to make in coming years.