Heart complications will return: Gagai
Miraculously playing just one week after leaving the field with an irregular heartbeat, Newcastle centre Dane Gagai has revealed his heart complications will reoccur though it isn't anything he can't self-regulate.
Failing to return after half-time during his team's 30-2 win over the Gold Coast last weekend due to an arrhythmia, Gagai said he battled dizzy spells and shortness of breath for 37 minutes in the first half.
The 24-year-old said that despite the scare he was able to bounce back and regain 100 per cent confidence in his heart, but was very forthcoming in saying it's bound to happen again.
"The doctor said heaps of people can get it but it can only be minor and you can function normally with it, so he said 'don't freak out like you have to come back every time it happens, you can play through it because your heart will get itself to normal'," Gagai said after Newcastle's 52-6 loss to South Sydney.
"He said it happens to marathon runners and Olympians, but there is no concern unless [the symptoms] from the other night [return] then I'll obviously have to do something about it.
"There's no cure for it. 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."
Looking back at the Round 19 victory, where the Knights won just their second game since Round 5, Gagai said he wasn't scared simply because he wasn't sure what was happening.
"I just felt dizzy. I was trying to wait for it to pass but it never did. It came on just three minutes into the first half so I thought it was just one of those things that if you keep going it'll go away but it didn't," Gagai said.
"They wired me up and said 'yeah we have to take you to hospital; your heart isn't beating properly'. It was cutting off oxygen too so I wasn't breathing properly either and obviously when you lose oxygen your brain can't function.
"I nearly passed out a couple of times but thanks to the unbelievable doctors at John Hunter Hospital who looked after me I was only in there for three hours so I was back at home soon after with a regular-beating heart.
"They couldn't figure out why it happened. But it's not uncommon for athletes to have it happen. It can be brought on by a lot of things and we couldn't really put a finger on it. But they said everything was working fine, or how it should be anyway."
Learning a harsh lesson in self-preservation, Gagai said he plans to be more mindful in managing any health qualms he has in the future.
"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 but looking back at it now, I should've listened to my body a bit more," Gagai said.
"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 just another learning curve for me."
Gagai and the Knights will need to bounce back quickly after their demoralising loss to the Rabbitohs, as they face the also out-of-form Dragons on Sunday in Round 21.