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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places
 

Former AFL great Nicky Winmar calls on Indigenous Australians to be heart smart

Date posted: 25 May 2017

As the Australian Rules Football (AFL) holds its Indigenous round, one of the players who famously took a stand against racism at the football is now promoting another cause.

Nicky Winmar has opened up about suffering a heart attack five years ago to raise awareness about one of the leading killers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

'I thought the pain was just indigestion. I thought I'd just have some milk and it would go away,' he recalls. 'But the next day it was still there, and I thought I better go to the hospital.'

Once there, Winmar was told he was having a heart attack. 'I was really shocked and I did have a few tears in my eyes.' He subsequently had a stent inserted at Royal Perth Hospital.

It was not the first time heart problems had affected Winmar's family. His father died on the eve of Winmar's only grand final appearance in 1997.

Now 51, Winmar has made changes to his lifestyle in a bid to prevent another heart attack. He says quitting smoking and limiting alcohol has had a big benefit on his life since his scare five years ago.

'Booze and the smoking, the nightlife, I used to go out a lot and that's stopped now,' he said.

Winmar hopes his influence will mean his message resonates with Indigenous communities.

'You just need to make sure you're aware of the symptoms that happen,' he said. 'This message needs to get out there.'

Source: ABC News

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Last updated: 29 May 2017
 
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