Scott urges heart tests for players

Andy Scott on the sidelines at Don Valley Stadium
Andy Scott on the sidelines at Don Valley Stadium
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ROTHERHAM United manager Andy Scott - whose playing career was ended prematurely due to a heart condition - has called for heart testing to be carried out throughout football.

Scott said the Fabrice Muamba incident brought “horrible flashbacks” for him over what he went through seven years ago and he wants to see something in place not just across the whole of football but all professional sport to try and help prevent this sort of thing happening again.

Scott was a player at Leyton Orient in 2005 when he had problems and was diagnosed with the heart condition hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the same condition which killed the former Manchester City player Marc Vivien Foe when he was playing for Cameroon in an international.

“I was very fortunate in that I was one of the two per cent of people with this condition that suffers symptoms - for the rest, unfortunately, it is fatal,” said Scott.

“With a condition like that, carrying on playing for me was a no brainer because of the potential for your heart packing up on you out there on the pitch.”

Scott then became a driving force in the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) and for the past five years they have been campaigning about testing young players and the importance of it and of the findings being read properly.

He spearheaded a meeting in 2007, at government level and with all football’s leading organisations, to push for improved testing throughout the country in all age groups.

“It was for young players but there are those who slip through the net, perhaps - like I did - through coming into the game from non-league,” he said.

“It takes very skilled people, cardiologists, to read whether someone has a (heart) condition or not and, at the moment, that doesn’t seem to be happening all the time throughout the country.

“There needs to be more dialogue with cardiologists who know what they’re looking for, the minute difference between a healthy heart and one that’s got a problem, and if that dialogue can help save a life then let’s have it. Unfortunately, it can take a high profile incident like the one at Tottenham on Saturday to actually get more dialogue, more discussion.”

He added: “Let this be a lesson that we can’t let this happen again on a football pitch anywhere.”

Footballers wear heart monitors in training but they record heart rate and nothing to do with identifying any potential problem or heart condition.