Hoani breaks his silence

Counting his blessings

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 19:42 05/12/2012
Southland Times photo
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
HOANI MACDONALD: "I basically flatlined and then they gave me a jolt and that didn't pick it up, and then they gave me another one and fortunately I came back.''
Hoani MacDonald
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Hoani MacDonald is treated on the field during the ITM Cup Championship Semifinal match.

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An emotional Hoani Macdonald spoke for the first time tonight about the heart attack which nearly cost his life during a game of NPC rugby in October.

Talking on Campbell Live, the Stags second rower said he became breathless and incoherent during the NPC championship semi-final against Counties Manukau in Pukekohe, but it wasn't until he was taken into an ambulance at the ground that the full extent of the problem became evident.

''They were doing a bit of CPR because I stopped breathing and then I basically flatlined and then they gave me a jolt and that didn't pick it up, and then they gave me another one and fortunately I came back.''

Macdonald, with his fiance Michelle Notman, said they were overwhelmed by the support they had received from the rugby community and the general public, including an elderly woman from Taieri who wrote a letter which contained two $5 notes to buy a presents for the couple's two young boys.

Macdonald, who has played professionally in New Zealand, Wales and Australia, said the relief at getting a second chance at life with his family far outweighed the knowledge he would never play rugby again.

''That was probably the easiest thing to come to grips with. That's something I can deal with easily, it's the other things that are harder. I'm just glad to be able to make the decision, I guess.''

Macdonald said one of the most difficult things had been not being allowed to drive for six months following the incident.

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