Shane Getkate recalls journey from suffering cardiac arrest to playing for Ireland

Shane Getkate

Fans have come across many inspiring stories of cricketers over the years. From Yuvraj Singh defeating cancer and playing international cricket again to Martin Guptill becoming a New Zealand great despite having just two fingers on his left toe, there are many great tales of cricket stars. One such motivating story is of Ireland all-rounder Shane Getkate. The all-rounder suffered a cardiac arrest in 2011 and his life was in danger.

While he fortunately recovered, his doctors reckoned Getkate won’t be able to play cricket again. However, the all-rounder didn’t put his guards down and played professional and even international cricket. Notably, Getkate was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White – a reasonably common heat-related illness – at the age of eight or nine. While the disease caused problems for Getkate on many occasions, it almost claimed his life during a match in 2011.

The Ireland all-rounder, 19 at that time was playing an under-19s game for Warwickshire against Cheshire. He sat down beside his coach after bowling a spell and got collapsed subsequently. He even went in coma for a couple of days. Recalling that unpleased day, Getkate said that had the medical team hadn’t arrived on time, he wouldn’t have survived.

I was in a coma for two days: Shane Getkate

I’ve had Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome all my life, but it was never an issue until that day. Maybe once or twice a year my heart would go a bit quick, but I’d chill out, put an ice pack on my neck for 20 or 30 minutes and my heart rate would go back down,” Getkate told BBC.

On that day it was hot. I bowled my spell, sat down next to the coach and I wasn’t feeling great. The next minute I was on the deck. Paramedics came in a helicopter. They used the defibrillator on me twice. I was in a coma for two days. I’m lucky the paramedics got to me so quickly,” he says. “If they had been five or 10 minutes later, I wouldn’t be here,” he added.

Shane Getkate, who has played 23 T20Is and four ODIs, also revealed that the doctors were pretty sure that he won’t be able to play cricket again. “The doctors said they were 99% sure I would never play cricket again. As a 19-year-old, that was hard to take,” recalled Getkate. He was discharged from the hospital four weeks after he collapsed. Two weeks later, he was playing cricket again.

It was a miracle turnaround. That first warm-up, when I was running, I was absolutely bricking it. I thought I was going to go down again. It took a while to build that confidence up. I was so happy to be playing again and I’ve had no issues since,” said the 30-year-old further.