Getting to the heart of atrial fibrillation

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a double blow for Springbok supporters, not only because of his prominence in the team; but also because of why he was withdrawn.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

The monster within us

Abstract: Why we should leave smokers alone... I caught a glimpse of her upper thigh as she teasingly lured the hem of her skirt towards her waist. My breath shortened in expectation waiting for a heavenly full disclosure. What would I see, what would she show me? She shrieked with delight and then collapsed on the table to tremendous applause from her friends. The party nearby had been going at it all afternoon and was clearly in an advanced stage of celebration. They had encouraged one of the girls to take to the table in a high-kicking act of can-can, but she couldn't. Instead, she had lifted her skirt in a sensual tease before the sudden increase in altitude cleared her head of consciousness. As I replayed the image in my mind it was accompanied by a subtext that had nothing, and yet

The sometimes bitter side of allowing sport players to glorify alcohol

Abstract: When the Proteas take to the pitch they become unfortunate Lords of a war where only innocent people get killed... Watching the Proteas in action in Australia I am struck with a feeling of utter disappointment; not because of how they are playing, but because they have been dragged into peddling misery, injury and even death. There's a remarkable opening sequence in the recent Nicholas Cage film Lord of War. As the credits are fired onto the screen, the viewer follows a single 7.62mm round from its birth to a death. We see it manufactured in a grimy Russian factory then sorted, boxed, delivered via ship to a war-torn African country, selected by a drugged-up soldier, pressed into the magazine of his AK47, loaded into the rifle's chamber and then fired at a target. It misses, and instead you see it smashing into

Why women suck at sport

Abstract: There's a hidden reason why women don't seem interested in sport... I remember the first time my wife beat me in a sport. We had recently got engaged and were playing squash, and she totally pulverised me. Some years later whilst enjoying our honeymoon in the 'berg she beat me at bowls. Later that same evening I challenged her to a game of pool. What happened? Suffice to say it's a game I no longer have the confidence to play. In fact, if I remember correctly I have a reason for no longer challenging her at putt-putt either. In my defence though, my wife is a former provincial hockey player and I have the hand-eye coordination of a rabid squirrel. But then my wife is not normal, because women normally shun the idea of playing sport, and it's quite possibly for a reason unknown