Southland rugby player Hoani MacDonald, who collapsed following a heart attack during a first class game, is on the road to recovery and tests so far reveal no long term damage.
MacDonald, a former Junior All Black and New Zealand Maori representative, collapsed during a match for Southland in the NPC Championship division semi-final against Counties Manukau in Pukekohe on Saturday.
The 34-year-old was put into an induced coma at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital.
Earlier this week MacDonald's condition improved and he was moved to a coronary care ward.
On Tuesday, Southland Stags manager Glenn Morrison said recent tests had been encouraging and it appeared MacDonald had suffered no long term damage to his heart.
However, a Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD) was implanted in his chest on Friday morning. The device will detect and correct cardiac arrhythmia.
"He has made real improvements in the last few days and is looking forward to being able to move onto the next stage of his recovery with his family," Mr Morrison said.
Southland Stags captain Jamie MacKintosh said the team had been worried about MacDonald, who they called "Hoon", adding that the team would continue to support him throughout his recovery.
"It's hard to comprehend something like this happening," he said.
"He is a special guy to Southland Rugby and while it was touch and go there for a while he is a tough bugger and its showing through in how he is bouncing back."
The team has called off their annual end of season bus trip on Sunday and will instead stay in Invercargill while they wait for news on MacDonald's recovery.
MacDonald's family, including his fiance and two sons from Invercargill, have been at his bedside.
MacDonald, an experienced lock, made his debut for Southland in 2000.