Heart attack ‘shows need for medics’

2012-10-24 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — New Zealand rugby player Hoani MacDonald’s heart attack during a provincial rugby match at the weekend has sent a strong reminder to clubs.

It underlined the need to have trained and equipped medics at all rugby matches, and for players to undergo regular screening, Sharks team doctor, Ewoudt van der Linde, said.

MacDonald was reportedly on the mend, having recently come out of an induced coma, and had been moved from ICU to a coronary care ward.

“Something like this can happen so quickly, but the chance of a cardiac-related incident happening can also be hugely reduced if sportsmen and -women, particularly our youngsters still at school, undergo regular pre-season screenings,” Van der Linde said.

“Prevention is always the best cure and it is always far easier to manage a possibly tragic situation if detected early, than to try to deal with the problem once an incident has occurred.

“Just a quick visit to your local cardiologist and a couple of tests later and you’ll be able to rest easy in the knowledge that you are clear of any heart-related conditions,” he added.

MacDonald, a former Highlanders and Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby player, suffered pitch-side cardiac arrest during the first half of Southland’s clash with Counties-Manukau in Auckland, New Zealand, over the weekend. Despite physio Karl McDonald’s gestures suggesting MacDonald could have been concussed, a sudden loss of consciousness minutes later signalled things were far worse than initially thought.

MacDonald’s condition continued to deteriorate and he suffered a seizure and further loss of consciousness before going into cardiac arrest just minutes after being stretchered off the field.

After reportedly “flat-lining” twice, a defibrillator was successfully used to revive MacDonald after almost 10 minutes of CPR and a shot of adrenaline.

Once stabilised, MacDonald was rushed to Middlemore Hospital, where he was put into an induced coma.

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