Gagai reveals angst over heart scare

A week after being rushed to hospital with an irregular heartbeat, Newcastle’s Dane Gagai says he was relieved just to get through Saturday night’s NRL loss to South Sydney.

Forced from the field midway through last week’s win over the Gold Coast and complaining of dizziness and shortness of breath, the 24-year-old has revealed how he almost passed out when taken to John Hunter Hospital.

“They wired me up and said, ‘Yeah, we have to take you to hospital, your heart isn’t beating properly,'” Gagai told AAP about last weekend’s drama.

“It was cutting off oxygen, so I wasn’t breathing properly either.

“And obviously when you lose oxygen your brain can’t function properly.

“I nearly passed out a couple of times but thanks to the unbelievable doctors at John Hunter Hospital who looked after me, I was dead-set only in there for three hours so I was back at home with a regular-beating heart.”

The Queensland representative also regretted not coming off right after experiencing the symptoms.

“There’s no way I was going to put my hand up and come off the field because I felt it would’ve been a soft way out,” he said.

“But looking back at it now, I should’ve listened to my body a bit more.

“It was just one of those things where I didn’t want to let my boys down.

“But in saying that, I was probably doing worse for the team by staying out there. It’s another learning curve for me.”

Despite his health fright, the Queensland representative successfully passed a number of cardiology tests in time to take his place in the clash against the Rabbitohs.

Gagai was told by his doctor that while such episodes are common, more scares would result in a more serious treatment.

“He said heaps of people can get it but it can only be minor and you can function normally with it,” he said.

“But if it does come on again – hopefully not any time soon – then we’ll have to look towards doing something a bit more major.”

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