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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Southland's Hoani MacDonald in induced coma following on-field collapse

Southland and former Newport-Gwent Dragons lock Hoani MacDonald is in critical but stable condition following cardiac arrest suffered during the Stags' ITM Cup Championship semifinal against Counties Manukau in Pukekohe earlier today.

MacDonald collapsed midway through the first half, clearly struggling and in pain before being stretchered off. He was reportedly talking to the team doctor but then went into cardiac arrest (off camera), and after 15-20 minutes of vigorous CPR, a defibrillator had to be used. 

He was worked on by ambulance staff, rugby doctors, police, and firefighters before being stabilised and transferred to hospital.

"MacDonald was taken by ambulance from ECOLight Stadium to Middlemore Hospital," a New Zealand Rugby Union statement said. "He has been put in an induced coma and is stable."

The commentators at the time didn't realise the seriousness of the situation, speculating that the 34-year-old could possibly have injured his head or neck.

"We were very worried up in the box because we saw him try to stand, and then tumble," said Counties coach Tana Umaga. "He started running and then fell over. It was pretty bad."

Umaga and other coaches have had concerns over the amount of games played this season, where the tournament has been condensed with little turnaround time between matches.

 "It shouldn't be life or death what we do," Umaga said. "It's a game we play for fun, and players' health should be paramount. That's something out of this competition that has to be looked at.

"It's about the health of the players. Hopefully they investigate it fully and it doesn't happen again, because I'd hate for this to escalate and be something more. Luckily we've got the health professionals to do a great job and look after him."

Southland coach Dave Henderson didn't know exactly what had happened, so at halftime didn't mention that it was anything serious to the players. He told them after the game.

"They are pretty down. We got them in the changing shed and told them what had happened, but we're still not sure what the problem is, but it is serious," he said.

A former Junior All Black and New Zealand Maori representative, MacDonald has also played Super Rugby for the Melbourne Rebels and Otago Highlanders.

His fiance and two young children have been flown in to spend the night at his bedside.

Counties Manukau won the game 48-23, earning a Championship final against Otago.

Update 21-10-12:
Hoani has come out of the coma and is showing positive signs, New Zealand Rugby Union general manager Neil Sorensen said.

"Southland Stag Hoani Macdonald has started to come out of an induced coma and is showing early positive signs including acknowledging questions and recognising people around him.

"While this is positive news, he remains in intensive care at Middlemore Hospital and his condition is described as stable," he added.

Credit: Fairfax NZ News

Posted at 5:50 pm | 22 comments

Viewing 22 comments

Manuel October 20, 2012 7:13 pm

Poor lad, I hope he recovers quickly.

I wonder if what Umaga said is serious enough as to make changes in the tournament rules.

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nickhunt1983 October 20, 2012 7:48 pm

Incredible that he even managed to get back to his feet.
Fingers crossed that he makes a full recovery, and that the rugby community gathers round for him, his family and friends.

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moddeur October 20, 2012 8:12 pm

RD please don't take this personally but I don't think that severe injury replays (whatever the injury: torn ligaments, early signs of cardiac arrest..) should be featured. I never watch them on TV, either looking the other way during slow-motion or getting up and going elsewhere, as I feel that it's borderline invasive in terms of a player's personal dignity.
This said, I very sincerely hope that Hoani MacDonald makes it through unscathed.

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Hendogo October 20, 2012 8:49 pm

I like don't like to see injuries, but this sort of stuff is needed I think bring up player safety. In the NFL there is all kinds of rule changes because they started seeing more concussions and the effect it had on players after the retired from the game.

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Demosys October 21, 2012 12:32 am

Totally agree. That's even more difficult for those, like me, who already suffered of torn ligaments. See that kind of super loop from every possible angles in Full HD almost every week end sometimes ruin the pleasure of good rugby game.

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Rugbydump October 21, 2012 2:05 pm

"borderline invasive in terms of a player's personal dignity." - fair point, but news is news and I'd imagine a lot of people would rather see what happened than read about it and feel in the dark.

Obviously if it were more graphic, of the heart attack itself, that wouldn't be shown.
You also have the choice to read the article only, and not hit play.

The latest news is that he's come out of the coma, and is able to communicate with those around him.

Wishing him all the best in his recovery.

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Mark October 20, 2012 8:15 pm

Everyone in the rugby world is praying for you. Keep strong and much support to your family my friend!

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Guy October 20, 2012 8:52 pm

He must be one tough mother, trying to stay on his feet like that. I sincerely hope that he will get back to full health very soon.

Don´t know if the tight match schedule is to blame for this. After all it doesn´t happen too often (fortunately).

@ Moddeur: I really understand your point of view. It feels a bit like 'dissaster-tourism'. Nevertheless now I know what cardiac arrest looks like and I am somehow glad for that.

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Disco October 20, 2012 11:45 pm

Agree with Moddeur (and Guy actually), maybe take this down.

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Stubby October 21, 2012 1:20 am

don't take it down

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yaboy23 October 21, 2012 2:34 am

Wishing him all the best, 15 min of CPR before defibrillation is not a joke.

@ Guy - Sorry pal but I thought'd I let you know that what's in the video isn't a cardiac arrest, he would collapse rather than look groggy. In the video he's most likely suffering from an arrhythmia which then led to his arrest. Just thought I'd say that in relation to your comment, not trying to be a smart arse!

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Guy October 21, 2012 11:07 am

Thanks for clearing that up, yaboy. I am defo not a medic, so much is clear! Nevertheless: it's good to know what I'm whitnessing if I ever see something like that on or of the pitch. And, again, it shows how important people that know how to deal with this, really are.

Actually, seeing this kind of stuff makes me wonder if I should take a course in CPR. I know the odds that you really save someone are slim, but still...considerably higher than zero.

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rememberthemer October 21, 2012 1:43 pm

Definitely good to have some CPR training. Even if just for the fact that knowing it will, according to Murphy's Laws at least, guarantee you will never need to use that knowledge.

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rememberthemer October 21, 2012 7:42 am

The best of luck to MacDonald.

A pretty sobering occurrence really. There's a percentage of the population walking around with a time-bomb in their chest. It could be anyone of us and the first we know of it is when this happens. It seems horribly arbitrary and unfair.

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Stubby October 21, 2012 8:53 am

tis true. My daughter lost a classmate to sudden cardiac arrest. Big track and soccer player dropped dead at the family cottage on summer vacation while swimming.
Carpe diem.

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rememberthemer October 21, 2012 1:51 pm

Aye. There was a football player Miklos Feher who had a fatal cardiac arrest during a league game. It was so sudden and final he may as well have been shot. Possibly the most horrible thing on Youtube. Carpe Diem indeed.

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07015678 October 21, 2012 10:18 am

Hoani, wishing you a very speedy and safe recovery from Scotland. Get well big lad.

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Albert October 21, 2012 1:09 pm

Respect for this man and his relatives. Wish you the best!

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Pretzel October 21, 2012 3:11 pm

I have to disagree with some, I am here for latest rugby news, if a player collapses/severely injured etc, I do want to see it, whilst something I might cause me to whince and look away, I have the choice to watch or not to watch. I think to make these videos of injuries, etc unavailable, would be to water down what we could all be facing on the pitch and in a sense keep the reality and truth away from us...

It's not nice but it's worth getting a reality check every now and again. Also I think it really highlights those players and makes us more aware of things...

If you feel you these videos are too much to watch, then don't click on them. Certain videos do not interest me, and I don't watch them...

As for this, best wishes to MacDonald, wishing him a speedy recovery, great to hear that he is now out of the coma and responsive!

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kadova October 21, 2012 7:19 pm

Could someone here explain to me why on earth can so young professional players get an heart attack, cardiac arrrest, or whatever similar to that?

Wish him full recovery.

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Bunn October 22, 2012 12:26 am

They don't know why, it just happens to people. It may be congenital, but often they have no idea why and there isn't much you can do about it other than screen every player for heart problems and even then you may not pick anything up. Some people have strong hearts and others don't. It's just like everything, part nature part nurture.

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rememberthemer October 22, 2012 1:14 am

The usual reason is they have a heart defect, but as Bunn says they often don't know. Cardiac arrest is quite different from and far more serious than a heart attack. Basically the heart goes into an irregular rhythm or stops completely. Fibrillation, where the hart cannot coordinate muscle contractions, is colloquially referred to as the "bag of worms". CPR can keep the brain alive but the only real chance of survival is to use a de-fibrillator to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm.

In many of these cases the first symptom is sudden death. Over the last decade there have been a dozen or more professional soccer players who have had a cardiac arrest during a game. In the case of Miklos Feher or Marc Vivien-Foe they were basically dead before they hit the ground.

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