Tendai Mtawarira on Friday for the first time let the world into his life and revealed that he has a heart condition he has been battling since 2010. Mtawarira was speaking to South African historian and author Dave Allen when he narrated the fateful day he was diagnosed and the events that followed:
It started in 2010, during the Super Rugby season. It was a normal day; I had lunch with the boys and a cup of coffee. The next thing I felt my heart beating so fast. I called the [team] doctor and they rushed me to the cardiologist. He figured out I had heart arrhythmia. When you hear you have some kind of heart condition, you start fearing for your career. That was the biggest shock. The cardiologist said: ‘This is not life-threatening
He [cardiologist] said it won’t stop me from playing, but it is ongoing and will slow me down. What they did when my heart went out of sync was to rush me to the emergency room. They used defibrillators. They knocked me out and shocked me back to life. Then my heart was back in sync.
It was a challenge and my faith came into play. I am a very strong Christian and faith has always been my foundation. I played with the condition for about six months before I went to Cape Town to do a process called ablation,” he said.
They told me I could not do any sporting activities for two months. It was off-season, so I was able to recover and come back and play Super Rugby. However, it didn’t go away. It came back again. I had to go for another ablation, sit out for another couple of months.
Mawarira also detailed how the condition affected him after he experienced a similar reaction the night before a test against Ireland in Dublin.
I remember breaking down and crying in front of our team manager Charles Wessels. I had to leave camp and was put on the next flight out and went for another ablation.
It was pretty tough, but I remained faithful and after that third incident it never came back again. I was in the best shape ever, played some of my best rugby and was able to win a World Cup. It is a testimony of being faithful
Beast was part of the team that won the rugby world cup in Japan last year and has since left the rugby pitch for the boardroom as he is now a CEO of a security company in South Africa.