AFL icon Mark Robinson opens up on frightening heart attack ordeal

Mark Robinson, pictured here reflecting on his heart attack ordeal on AFL 360.
Mark Robinson reflected on his heart attack ordeal on AFL 360. Image: Fox Footy

Veteran AFL journalist Mark Robinson has opened up about his frightening heart attack ordeal in an emotional live TV segment.

The AFL 360 co-host was celebrated by his colleagues and a host of players on Tuesday night as he reflected on the ordeal - one year to the day since his heart attack.

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The 54-year-old suffered a heart attack in the early hours of a Saturday morning in July of 2021, subsequently undergoing open-heart surgery.

The veteran journalist made a full recovery and returned to the AFL 360 desk at the start of this season.

“I was lucky enough to wake up ... when Ray Gunston passes, Shane Warne passes, Rod Marsh and different people you know pass, you do think about your own life,” he said on Tuesday night.

“You don’t even think about yourself, you think about the pain and suffering of others who have lost their family members and you think of the pain other people would go through.

“I woke up this morning, I was lying in bed and I thought I remember waking up 12 months ago and I couldn’t breathe.

“It was like the air couldn’t get past my Adam’s apple, it was really frightening. I was really, really lucky.”

Mark Robinson, pictured here on AFL 360 this year after his heart attack.
Mark Robinson returned to AFL 360 this year after his heart attack. Image: Fox Footy

Robinson reflected on the fact that he managed to survive his heart attack, while other high-profile stars like Shane Warne didn't.

“It does seem a long time ago, but when I think about it, it seems like it was last week,” he said.

“What you do is you don’t go back there, because you don’t ever want to mentally go back to that point where you think by the toss of a coin you could’ve lived or die.

“I woke up. Shane Warne didn’t wake up. I woke up and others out there didn’t wake up, I was lucky enough for some reason when my heart was telling me I’m in really big trouble here, I woke up. I think that saved me, but I don’t know.”

Robinson’s doctor Philip Hayward and outgoing AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan joined Robinson and Gerard Whateley on the AFL 360 desk, while a number of past and present players paid tribute to the co-host in a video tribute.

Shane Warne, pictured here in 2021.
Mark Robinson reflected on Shane Warne's death from a heart attack. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images) (Quinn Rooney via Getty Images)

Mark Robinson's return to AFL 360 after heart attack

Robinson - who is also the chief footy writer at the Herald Sun - told News Corp last year that he knew he was in trouble when he suffered two medical episodes during round 18 of the 2021 season.

“I woke up and I can’t remember how I got to the position, but I was sitting on my bed and it was dark - I couldn’t breathe,” he said.

“It was as though I couldn’t get any breath into my body and I was freezing cold. I thought: ‘I’m in trouble here. I’m in trouble’.

“It kicked off a sequence of events, which ended up with me walking into Goldfields Medical Centre at Warrandyte at about two minutes to nine o’clock. I walked in and said, ‘Hello, I’m in trouble’ – and I burst into tears."

After returning to AFL 360 at the start of the 2022 season, Robinson took a cheeky crack at co-host Whateley.

“The first two weeks I couldn’t move, and then slowly, slowly and slowly I’ve gotten some strength back in my body,” he revealed at the time.

“I know I’m recovering because I was yelling at the TV screen the other week when you (Whateley) were talking c**p, and I was going 'come on, come on, let’s get some hard questions!' But yeah, it’s been a struggle, but we’ve got through it mate."

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