WARNING: Graphic images
ST Kilda players were warned against entering Port Phillip Bay today after a mysterious sea creature attack that left teenager Sam Kanizay bloodied and unable to walk. Midfielder Koby Stevens said today he was en route to Brighton, where the incident occurred, when he heard the news after the Seaford-based club issued a warning. “I’ve still got my feet today,” he joked. “Me and Sammy Gilbert were actually on our way down to the beach and we got the email from Matt Hornsby, our fitness guy, telling us not to go in.”
He also revealed that a similar experience recently plagued a friend. “A couple of weeks back one of my mates was down the water and he came out with blood on his feet as well,” he said.
“You really need your feet for this game, so we were advised not go down there.” Today, a biological science expert said he had never seen a person with the gruesome injuries suffered by Sam Kanizay, 16. He suffered wounds to his lower legs and feet when he went to the beach on Saturday evening to ice down after a footy match.
Mr Kanizay said the injuries were a “freak incident” and has since received a biopsy and a number of stitches as medical experts try to piece together what happened. Associate professor at Monash University’s School of Biological Sciences Richard Reina said he’s never seen “anything like this on a human before”. “Sea lice normally go after dead or dying animals — they bite humans too but not as severe as this case,” Assoc Prof Reina said.
“I suspect the reason why the wounds were so intense was because he was standing still for so long and his legs went numb.” Assoc Prof Reina said it was possible Mr Kanizay was unaware he was being attacked by sea lice because the water was so cold. “Normally when you feel a sting you will naturally move away from the area or get out of the water but it’s possible he didn’t even know,” he said.
“The general public should not be alarmed because this is a very rare case.” Mr Kanizay said he felt his legs go numb in the cold evening water but was shocked when he emerged to see his legs covered in blood. “I didn’t feel anything untoward when I was in the water,” he said.
“It was cold, so I expected my legs to go numb. “I would have been in there for maybe 30 minutes and didn’t notice anything until I looked down to put my thongs on.” That is when, Mr Kanizay said, the bleeding wouldn’t stop. “Blood covered both of my feet and I was leaving little pools (of blood) everywhere. I thought I had maybe stood on a rock, but the amount of blood quickly told me that wasn’t it,” he said.
Living nearby, Mr Kanizay walked home and was quickly rushed to hospital. “He actually waited out the front and called out for help because he didn’t want to bleed inside the house,” mother Jane Kanizay said. “We tried washing the blood off, but quickly realised we couldn’t stem the bleeding so we took him to Sandringham Hospital.”
Doctors were left puzzled by the injuries with “pin-sized holes” seeping blood on his legs and feet. Sam’s father Jarrod drove the teenager to Dandenong Hospital for further testing.
Doctors at Dandenong Hospital were still struggling to contain the bleeding yesterday afternoon. As experts tried to determine what happened, Jarrod Kanizay did his own detective work — placing some water from the part of the bay where Sam was “attacked” with some meat in a tank. Mr Kanizay filmed the experiment, which shows sea lice devouring the piece of meat and thinks it could explain what happened to Sam.
One doctor agreed, suggesting small “sea lice” that feed on dead fish could be behind the injuries. The horrific experience hasn’t put the young footballer off a return to the bay. “I may ice my legs in the pool from now on but I’ll definitely go out swimming there again,” Sam said.
“Plenty of people go for a swim in there so it’s probably just a one-off thing.”