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Former pro surfer knocked unconscious

The Age

Dan Proudman

March 13,2017

A former professional surfer is being assessed for possible brain damage after his skull was fractured in a one-punch assault outside a Newcastle pub.

Jake Sylvester, 23, was allegedly punched in an unprovoked attack outside the pub in Steel Street, Newcastle West pub on Friday night

Jake Sylvester fractured his skull after a one-punch attack.
Jake Sylvester fractured his skull after a one-punch attack. Photo: Darren Pateman

Mr Sylvester has been celebrating with friends after competing in the SurfAid Cup, a charity event as part of Surfest, when he was knocked unconscious about 11.25pm.

However, the punch which later knocked the Merewether man unconscious is being treated by police as an unprovoked attack.

The suspected attacker has not been caught.

Sylvester's father, Kim, said on Sunday that his son had suffered a fracture at the back of his skull after his head hit the roadway.

He had regained consciousness and was speaking and walking, but remained in John Hunter Hospital for more tests on his brain.

"I can feel he is not perfect," Kim Sylvester said. "He is just not Jake."

Kim Sylvester said his family received a call as Jake was lying unconscious outside the hotel on Friday night and thought the worst.

"We were told it looked pretty bad, he was unconscious and in a pool of blood," Kim Sylvester said.

"One of his best mates stayed with him on the way to hospital and we are grateful for that.

"It is going to be a worry for a while. It has done something you don't want done to your head.

"The bone will heal but it is the damage we are worried about."

The Sylvester family were waiting on news of more brain scans conducted on Sunday morning.

Jake Sylvester is a two-time pro junior winner at Surfest and former Australasian Pro Junior champion, who was eliminated in the second round of the Maitland and Port Stephens Toyota Pro on Tuesday.

Police were only told about the assault on Saturday afternoon and started an investigation.

"Police from Newcastle City Local Area Command were alerted to the incident yesterday afternoon and initiated inquiries," a statement said.

"They are appealing to any witnesses to the incident to contact Newcastle Police Station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000."