Skip to main content

Football Fern joins Big Heart Appeal to raise awareness of heart disease

New Zealand footballer Paige Satchell, currently playing for professional club London City Lionesses, is one of a younger generation of Kiwis suffering from heart disease. This February she’s joining the call for Kiwis to get their hearts checked and to donate to the Big Heart Appeal to fund heart research.

Piage satchell from London city Lionesses

Regardless of age, gender or background, heart issues can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Striker Paige Satchell, who played for the Wellington Phoenix before the London City Lionesses, was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) while playing for Sydney A-League Women in the 2021-22 season.

Despite experiencing heart palpitations for years, it was only diagnosed after monitoring her heart rate while competing. 

“It’s called SVT and basically it means you get a rapid heartbeat as the normal electrical impulses of the heart are disrupted. I’ve had it since I was 17, but we weren’t able to properly diagnose it for a long time,” she says.

She had to come off the field during a Football Ferns match against Australia due to the condition but is determined to continue playing without interruptions.

Paige underwent a successful two-hour operation, allowing her to return to play. She was awake throughout the whole procedure.

“It’s pretty crazy when I tell people that I watched it all,” she says. “They go up through your groin and put wires into your heart to freeze some nerves. Then I had two or three weeks off before I could return to playing.”

Paige’s surgery aims to prevent her heart rate from soaring to dangerous levels during games. 

“Hopefully I won’t get the symptoms again because they were pretty annoying. I would have to come off in training or in the game, so fingers crossed it won’t happen again.”

At its worst, Paige says her heart rate would soar above 200 beats per minute. The palpitations occurred most frequently when she exercised but she had never experienced them in a game prior to playing the Matildas.

At one point she had to lie down on the field in an attempt to slow her heart rate.

Paige now wants others with heart issues to talk to their health professional about their heart, no matter how minor.

She says getting everything checked out is the first step to solving the problem.

Heart disease can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time.
Donate now to support life-saving heart research.

Donate now