NEW JERSEY – A healthy 28-year-old rugby player collapsed on Saturday, October 23rd during a match and was declared clinically dead after having no heartbeat for 28 minutes. Tevita Bryce was rushed to hospital with no pulse and emergency surgery was performed to remove a blood clot that had traveled to his heart. He miraculously survived the incident which came only two months after his wife posted on Facebook that they had booked their vaccine appointment.

On August 13th, Tevita’s wife, Ashley, reacted to a CNN video on Facebook about a father pleading with people to get vaccinated after his baby was hospitalized with COVID-19. She posted that she and her husband were getting the vaccine the next day to do their part and “protect the community:”

I can’t even imagine it. This breaks my heart!

That is why we as a couple booked our vaccine appointment’s for tomorrow and is doing our part to protect the community.

Around two months later, on October 23rd, Tevita was playing for Montclair Rugby against Morris Rugby in a New Jersey men’s league semifinal match. With about 15 minutes left to play, Tevita kicked the ball and collapsed. He suffered a seizure, a stroke, and a major heart attack. Trained first responders on the opposing team began CPR as ambulances arrived and he was rushed to St. Clare’s Denville Hospital with no pulse.

Ashley posted this on Facebook a day after the incident:

However, Tevita survived and was admitted to the ICU. He had a stent put in his heart but was still cracking jokes, like:

“I love my wife too much. That’s why I had a heart attack.”

Born in Tonga, Tevita migrated to New Zealand with his mother at age 4. He received a rugby scholarship to Rissho University in Saitama, Japan, from which he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social welfare and rehabilitation. 

That’s where he met Ashley, a California native who was visiting the country. They fell in love, and after trying the long-distance thing, he got his green card. Two days after they married in 2019, Tevita had to move back to New Zealand to care for his mother, who had terminal colon cancer. The couple settled in Totowa in July to be close to Ashley’s family, now based in New York.

Not only does he have to worry about his physical recovery, but he’s facing a financial battle too, after his near-death experience.

You can support Tevita on GoFundMe.

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By Daemon

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