Wellington, New Zealand: The death of New Zealand Super Rugby player Sean Weinui in an auto accident is being treated as a suspected suicide.
Wenui died on 18 October in what police described as a single-vehicle accident. Police said the Venues vehicle collided with a tree in McLaren Falls Park near Tauranga on the North Island.
In a statement Tuesday, Coroner Luella Parsons said Venue’s death is being investigated as a suicide.
The New Zealand All Blacks made a haka display in tribute to Venui ahead of their Test match against the United States at Washington FedEx Field on Saturday, with Venui pausing for 11 seconds in reference to the number 11 jersey.
Venui, 25, played Super Rugby for the Hamilton-based Chiefs and Christchurch-based Crusaders and was the New Zealand Māori representative.
Her death is likely to fuel new concerns about the mental health support available to elite athletes following the suicide of Olympic cyclist Olivia Podmore earlier this year.
The death of 24-year-old Podmore in August prompted an independent investigation into how Cycling New Zealand and High Performance New Zealand responded to a 2018 report that found a culture of bullying and other inappropriate behavior in the high-performance cycling program.
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