Matthew Theunissen

Matthew Theunissen is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Rugby: Brighter outlook for Stags lock

Michelle Notman and Hoani MacDonald at the Trevi Fountain in Rome. Photo / Supplied
Michelle Notman and Hoani MacDonald at the Trevi Fountain in Rome. Photo / Supplied

Southland rugby player Hoani MacDonald has had a small electrical impulse generator implanted into his torso in case he has another cardiac arrest, but the future is looking brighter for the Stags' lock than it did a week ago.

The 34-year-old collapsed during his team's ITM Cup semifinal against Counties Manukau in Pukekohe. Paramedics used a defibrillator to revive him after CPR and a shot of adrenaline failed to bring back his pulse.

Rugby Southland said he was released from hospital on Saturday after an operation on Friday to insert an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD).

"The events of the last eight days have been a lot to comprehend for MacDonald and his family who, for the immediate future, will be staying in Auckland to be close to medical support ...

"Hoani and his family are continuing to receive great support from the rugby community as well their family and friends."

According to the American College of Cardiology website, an ICD is a small device which is inserted into the chest or abdomen and uses electrical pulses or shocks to help control life-threatening, irregular heartbeats, especially those that could lead the heart to suddenly stop beating.

Rugby Southland spokesman Mark Wilson said it had been a tumultuous week for MacDonald and his family and they were taking time to "regroup and reflect".

"He can walk around and all the tests that have come back so far have been negative for any damage, so I guess ... he's doing as well as he could be considering what's happened.

MacDonald's fiancee Michelle Notman this week posted a photo on Facebook of the couple at the Trevi Fountain in Rome, where people toss in coins for good luck.

"A bit of Trevi luck never goes astray!!! Bring it!!" she wrote. The couple have two sons.

- APNZ

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