HUDDERSFIELD Giants prop Sebastine Ikahihifo admits he hopes an unusual onfield panic attack will not be an “ongoing” issue for him in the future.
Spectators thought the New Zealander had suffered a serious injury when, prone on the ground, he received lengthy treatment from medical staff towards the end of Thursday night’s season opening game at Hull FC.
Ikahihifo was eventually able to get to his feet and be helped to the sideline.
Coach Rick Stone revealed afterwards the 27-year-old was not injured but had had a panic attack after suffering from “exhaustion,” having not featured in any warm-up games.
In an interview with The Yorkshire Post last season, the ex-New Zealand Warriors star did reveal how he had started using visualisation and meditation to help calm anxieties ahead of games.
The tactic clearly reaped dividends as he enjoyed career-best form in 2017 and a first Super League Dream Team place.
Asked if this latest incident in the 38-12 loss was anything serious – Huddersfield led 12-10 at half-time – Ikahihifo said: “No, no. I got it two years ago, too. It’s just the first game back.
“I didn’t have a pre-season game so the lungs kind of got me.
“Plus it didn’t help playing with a lot of emotions; I got a little bit angry and there was an adrenaline rush. I had a little panic attack with my lungs.
“I was quite calm in a way as it has happened before but, hopefully, it’s not an ongoing thing.”
He is expected to be fit for Thursday’s visit of Warrington Wolves, who also lost their first game of the campaign, falling 16-12 at home to champions Leeds Rhinos.
“They are a quality side and have bought some quality players,” said Ikahihifo.
“They didn’t do well last year but I still rate them as one of the top-four.
“It will be a tough game. We shot ourselves in the foot against Hull. We made too many errors in that second half.
“I’m not saying we would have won as they played really well themselves in the second period, with fewer errors.
“They completed and executed really well and, being a top-four team, showed they will punish you.”
Stone admitted: “We were Jekyll and Hyde here.
“We competed really hard in that first period but then pretty much handed Hull opportunities by doing things like kicking out on the full. It was a bit of a train crash.”
Huddersfield should have England winger Jermaine McGillvary returning after injury.