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Saturday Oct 20, 2012

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

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


  • rememberthemer
    2:14 AM 22/10/2012

    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.

  • kadova
    8:19 PM 21/10/2012

    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.

  • pretzel
    4:11 PM 21/10/2012

    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!

  • rugbydump
    3:05 PM 21/10/2012

    "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.

  • rememberthemer
    2:51 PM 21/10/2012

    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.

  • rememberthemer
    2:43 PM 21/10/2012

    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.

  • guy
    12:07 PM 21/10/2012

    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.

  • 07015678
    11:18 AM 21/10/2012

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

  • stubby
    9:53 AM 21/10/2012

    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.

  • rememberthemer
    8:42 AM 21/10/2012

    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.

  • yaboy23
    3:34 AM 21/10/2012

    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!

  • stubby
    2:20 AM 21/10/2012

    don't take it down

  • demosys
    1:32 AM 21/10/2012

    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.

  • disco
    12:45 AM 21/10/2012

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

  • hendogo
    9:49 PM 20/10/2012

    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.

  • moddeur
    9:12 PM 20/10/2012

    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.

  • nickhunt1983
    8:48 PM 20/10/2012

    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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Southland's Hoani MacDonald in induced coma following on-field collapse | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos