Abstract: The sidelining of a top rugby player has thrown the spotlight on a common, often fatal, heart condition...
If the sudden withdrawal of Tendai 'The Beast' Mtawarira from the Springbok squad has had any benefits, it's the drawing of attention to a relatively common, and sometimes devastating, heart condition; and one that could be a growing concern for other rugby forwards.
Mtawarira's withdrawal was something of a double blow for Springbok supporters, not only because of his prominence in the team; but also because of why he was withdrawn. The official announcement was that he had experienced mild heart palpitations. It's fair to wonder how a man of such physical strength could be sidelined by something that sounds seemingly inconsequential.
The reality, according to Dr Vash Mungal-Singh, the CEO of Heart and Stroke Foundation SA, is that what Mtawarira was diagnosed with - atrial fibrillation