Patrick McAneney with his under 16 Noosa Dolphin teammates.
Patrick McAneney with his under 16 Noosa Dolphin teammates.

Open heart surgery won’t stop rugby-loving teen

Despite four open heart surgeries, rugby-loving teenager Patrick McAneney is only happy when he is on the field.

Doctors have told Patrick they would prefer he took a sidestep from the high-adrenaline sport.

Patrick, 14, is only able to play five minute stints for the Noosa Dolphins Rugby Union Club.

But the club says the inspirational teenager’s role is just as important as any other.

Patrick McAneney on the rugby field.
Patrick McAneney on the rugby field.

Patrick is the assistant manager of the under 14 Noosa Dolphins team.

He wears the shirt with pride during each session.

Patrick’s mum Karen praised the club and players for welcoming her son into the club.

“They have been absolutely amazing,” she said.

“He is so happy to be a part of the team.

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Patrick was born with a heart defect known as atrioventricular septal defect.

By the time he was 10 weeks old, Patrick had endured open heart surgery twice.

The second surgery left him with a form of stroke, resulting in him being completely paralysed down his left side.

The brave boy spent the next five years in and out of rehabilitation and he had completely recovered from the stoke by the time he was five.

This allowed him to enjoy an active lifestyle, which included displaying his prowess on the soccer field.

At six, when he was in kindergarten, Patrick underwent his third heart operation.

“It was another repair,” Ms MsAnerney said.

“There was a leak in the mitral valve.”

Undeterred, Patrick was back at school 18 days later, and running around the sporting field two short months after that.

By year 5, Patrick faced his fourth open heart surgery.

“He had started showing signs of not coping well,” Ms McAneney said.

These days, the teenager has proven his past has only made him stronger, and it seems it is rubbing off on his Dolphins’ teammates.

Team manager Rob Frey was full of praise for his hardworking assistant.

“If I had a team full of Patricks, it would be very easy to coach,” he said.

“Let’s just say we would win more games than we lose.

“The effort he puts into training and games is exemplary.”

Patrick and his teammates will be fired up when the club plays Caloundra in Caloundra this weekend.