Former Australian cricket coach Darren Lehmann has had triple-bypass surgery following a heart scare. Picture: Jerad Williams
Former Australian cricket coach Darren Lehmann has had triple-bypass surgery following a heart scare. Picture: Jerad Williams

Lehmann ditches the smokes after heart scare

Darren Lehmann has "ditched the darts'' and changed his outlook on life after being rushed to hospital following a major heart seizure on his 50th birthday.

Former Australian coach Lehmann, speaking for the first time since the life-threatening incident on the Gold Coast earlier this month, told News Corp he would modify his lifestyle in the wake of triple-bypass surgery.

An old fashioned style cricketer renowned for his love of a beer and a smoke, Lehmann has been smoking since he was 20 and is a "15 to 20-a-day man'' but this incident has force-fed the message the smokes have to go.

"Oh yeah I have to get rid of them, they are no good for you,'' he said with a grin, before quipping, "I have not had a drink or a smoke since I turned 50. It's unbelievable. Nothing.

"But I won't go back to the darts - they are long gone.''

 

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Many long-time smokers find it difficult to go cold turkey but Lehmann surprisingly has not felt any cravings since his surgery as he sets himself to take up an appointment to coach in The One Hundred competition in England in July.

"It's easy. Really, really weird. I have not even looked at a cigarette. I had a patch on for one day and felt giddy so I took it off.

"It's mind over matter. I can still have a beer but I have not had one yet. I will have a beer soon and I am looking forward to it actually. I want to live a good, long healthy life.

"It was a shock to the system. It makes you re-evaluate things and you realise what is important. You feel relieved to be back standing and seeing your family, smelling the air, just watching the rain.

"I think you get a bit more sentimental and start enjoying life for what it is.

"To me it is a good wake-up call. It certainly awakes you to the stresses you put on yourself. I am not so worried any more. That is a good thing.

 

Lehmann coaches the Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League. Picture: Getty Images
Lehmann coaches the Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League. Picture: Getty Images

"There are worse things going on in life than winning and losing a game of cricket for example''.

Lehmann, who has been told by doctors he should be back to full health by three months, will forever be grateful that he took swift action after sensing something was amiss with him when he woke at 4am on his birthday.

"I was down on the Gold Coast watching (son) Jake playing for the Chairman's XI against the English Lions and we went out for dinner the night before.

"I got up early for my birthday sweating and with chest pains and thought "this is not great'. I was staying at the SeaWorld Resort who have a medical officer who came down and saw me at 4am. I was in an ambulance straight away and two hours later told I had to have surgery.

"I had great care from the ambulance drivers, the Gold Coast Private and Prince Charles Hospital which is the best cardiac hospital going around. Unbelievable. People talk about the healthcare system but I felt I got the best care imaginable.

"I have been one of those blokes who had always enjoyed themselves fully. But I have to do the right things now.

"Doctors have said in three months I will be good as gold and ready to tackle the world again. I am going for walks and getting stronger and watching a lot of cricket on television.

"I have had a lot of support from around the world and it makes me feel lucky to be involved in such a great game with so many good people. I had some very nice messages."



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