Introducing Hearttalk: Cardiac Arrest Survivor Cathal Joyce joins


HEARTALK2It’s a growing concern within our GAA Family and are here to help those people who may have been affected or are concerned about the increasing number of Cardiac Arrests hitting our sport. We have partnered up with survivor Cathal Joyce as he sheds light on this story, from day of incident to present day and the hurdles he faced along the long road to recovery.

Cathal will be posting articles to our special Hearttalk section while also answering questions in our Forum.

I suffered a cardiac arrest in Cusack Park Mullingar on Sunday 13th September 2015. That morning I felt great, I packed my gear bag and made my way to the game, it was the intermediate semi-final against Rosemount GAA. We did our warm up on a pitch beside Cusack Park and I completed the warm up with no complications or indications that I was about to suffer a cardiac arrest. We then made the short trip over to Cusack Park when arrival at the pitch we went straight into the dressing room.

The team was announced, jerseys were put on and all were ready to go. We started a small bit of a warm up again just kicking a few footballs around that’s when I started to feel unwell. I started to feel a bit light headed, my coordination was going. I was dropping balls and struggling to kick a ball. I then called one of the lads and asked him to bring me over to the dugout as I was starting to feel weak. I sat in the dugout my brother then came over to me who was physio on the day. He asked me “what was wrong? what way did I feel?” With that my vision went and I collapsed on the side-line. James my brother started CPR and shouted for a AED.

There was a doctor on the Rosemount team who thankfully came over to help.  There was also a cardiac nurse there from the match previous which I am also very grateful for all the help. I had the best possible chance of survival.  In terms of treatment I received three rounds of CPR and I got one shocked of the AED defibrillator.

This was the scariest day of my life, if it was not for the good quality CPR and the availably of a defibrillator I might not be here today and that’s how realistic the whole situation was. I was transported to Mullingar hospital where the care I got was top notch. I did not really know at this time what had happened me I was in intensive care unit (ICU).

The next day I started to undergo tests I did a basic ECG test then I progress onto doing a stress test which I was terrified of doing running on a treadmill with a defibrillator on a table beside you not a nice feeling. From then on I underwent loads more tests which were an echo test, angiogram, and a cardiac MRI.

After all this I was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy this was a bit of bad news for me as I had hopped I had a heart attack which a few stints would of cured me and I would be back playing in no time. It was informed I would need an ICD implantable cardioverter-defibrillator inserted under my left collarbone and I would not compete in competitive sports again this was literally heart-breaking news for me. It was such a busy week for me and throughout it all I was just planning how long it would take me to recover to play sports again.

All the training I have and had done my whole life was going to come to a halt at the age of 25. I did not take this news to well as you find out through my journey on here.

If you have any questions in relation to this subject Cathal will be exclusively available to you from our Sportstalk Forums – Cathal will be answering any questions you may have on the subject.



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