‘Miracle man’ in comeback

Monday 22 June 2020 | Written by Jonathan Milne | Published in League


‘Miracle man’ in comeback
Matt Johnson was 13 when he found out he had rheumatic heart disease. 20062106

Rugby star Matt Johnson walked out of hospital yesterday – a bigger comeback than anything his Blues rugby team has ever pulled off.

Cook Islander Johnson, who was hospitalised with rheumatic fever as a child, suffered a serious recurrence this month. Surgery went wrong, and he was in a coma on lift support for a week with his chest cavity open.

His girlfriend Taylah Hodson-Tomokino, who has been by his hospital bed for the past 20 days, was with him as they left Auckland hospital.

“I’ve had some pretty memorable moments in life, but I can truly say this has been the best,” she said.

“Matt walked out of hospital today, 20 days post-op and 14 days after he successfully came off life support.

“God has other plans for him and he’s with us today because of the incredible staff at Auckland Hospital, his perseverance and all of you, near and far, who prayed over him and kept him in your thoughts. I love you my miracle man.”

His dad Mataio Johnson, and partner Rangi Mitaera-Johnson, have been waiting anxiously in Rarotonga, unable to fly to his bedside because of the Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Mitaera-Johnson said they were overjoyed at the news. “There have been a lot of thoughts and prayers from here, Manihiki, Australia and New Zealand. He’s a pretty fit and determined young man – but this is miraculous.”

Mataio Johnson and their younger daughter hope to fly to Auckland to see Matt, dependent on health rules.