The powerful South African pillar recounted his experience with a cardiac arrhythmia and how he managed to overcome it.
The Beast, as Tendai Mtawarira is known, expressed how worries about his heart nearly derailed his rugby career and recalled the onset of the health problem. “In 2010, during the Super Rugby season I had lunch with the boys and then had a cup of coffee. I began to feel that my heart was beating very fast. I called the team doctor and they took me to the cardiologist. They found out that he had a cardiac arrhythmia. When they tell you that you have some type of heart condition, you start to fear for your career. That was the biggest shock, ”recounted the first line, adding that the cardiologist said,” This is not life threatening. “
The 34-year-old pillar who shone in the Springboks and retired from the team after winning the World Cup in Japan 2019, said that the arrhythmia had a direct effect on the electrical impulses that control the heartbeat, interrupting the normal rhythm for beat faster or slower.
“The cardiologist said that he was not going to prevent me from playing, but that he was present and that could harm me. What they did the first time the arrhythmia appeared was to take me to the emergency room. They used defibrillators. They knocked me unconscious and I was born again. They synchronized my heart, ”said Mtawarira.
For the pillar everything went optimistically, however, he clarified that “it was a challenge and my faith came into play. I am a very believing Christian and faith has always been my strength. I played around with the heart problem for about six months before going to Cape Town to do an ablation. ”
This small operation, which involves inserting diagnostic catheters through the blood vessels to the heart, has its recovery time: “I was told that I could not do any sports activity for two months. It was low season, so I was able to recover and play Super Rugby again. However, he did not leave. He came back again. I had to go through another ablation and stay out for a couple more months. ” But The Beast said that the inconvenience said present again. The event occurred in Dublin, one night before a match with Ireland.
“I remember crying and crying in front of team manager Charles Wessels. I had to abandon the concentration, they put me on the first flight and I went to another ablation, ”recalled the pillar. “It was quite difficult, but I continued to keep the faith and after that third incident he never appeared again,” said Mtawarira, who became the first black Springbok to reach 100 games in the green shirt.