Sportsman dies after choking on piece of food

By Anna Turner -
NZ men's netball captain Mike Siave with his wife Amanda. Photo / Supplied
NZ men's netball captain Mike Siave with his wife Amanda. Photo / Supplied

A prominent sportsman died suddenly in front of his wife after choking on a piece of food in a tragic accident.

Mike Siave, 35, the captain of the New Zealand men's netball team, was eating dinner with his wife Amanda Siave on Friday when he suddenly collapsed to the floor, unable to breathe.

His wife rushed to his side and performed CPR until an ambulance arrived but Mr Siave died on the scene.

The coroner's report deemed he died from asphyxiation caused by a food blockage.

Mrs Siave described Mike as "the love of my life" and was still struggling to come to terms with the death of her beloved husband.

"He was fit and young. We just can't understand it. I can't believe it's real. It's such a tragic accident."

Earlier in the night, Mr Siave and his wife had played a game of indoor netball and stayed afterwards to have a drink with friends.

"We chatted about the future and how we were going to grow old together," she said.

The couple first met 15 years ago, through their mutual friends and an interest in netball. They had been married 10 years and had two sons - Jackson, 7, and Cooper, 5.

"He was a very affectionate and loving husband. He'd always show up and surprise me. He really was the love of my life. We never went a day without saying we loved each other, I'm so grateful we did that."

Jackson and Cooper had their Dad's smile, Mrs Siave said.

"He always had a smile on his face and they have the same cheeky smile. I know people say it a lot, but he really did light up the room.

"He was a very hands-on Dad. He was very involved with the boy's sports and was so proud of them. We did so much together as a family - camping and holidays. We fitted into our few years what most people do in a lifetime."

Mr Siave was a senior sales manager at Telecom, captain of the New Zealand men's netball team and had been in the Canterbury men's netball team for more than 15 years. "He was really proud to be made captain. I've had messages from people I don't even know saying he inspired them in some way. It's pretty amazing."

Good friend and teammate Victor Godsmark-White had a drink with Mr and Mrs Siave just hours before his death on Friday night. Since the news, he had been shooting hoops down at the courts and thinking of his friend.

"We used to just do stupid things together. Like, after a game we'd have swimming races on the netball court - just sliding along doing backstroke on the ground. That sort of thing.

"He was the best guy. He was such a good husband and father; his wife and his boys were his whole life. He loved them so much. He gave anyone who needed it support, he'd look after all the new players who came into the sport. I just can't believe this has happened. It's too tragic."

New Zealand Men's Netball Association president David Pala'amo said the netball community was still reeling at the news.

"He was very inspirational and a great leader. He always strived to be the best and get the best out of everyone. He could be serious when you needed him to be, but was also a lot of fun - he'd always have a laugh."

Mr Pala'amo said the team would be playing all their games next year in honour of their lost teammate.

- APN

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