Clarke urges play­ers to have health check

SOC­CER FOOT­BALLER FORCED TO RE­TIRE FROM GAME

Bray People - - Sports - Daniel GOR­MAN

ALL PEO­PLE who par­tic­i­pate in sports should get a health check, that’s the mes­sage for­mer Stoke City cap­tain Clive Clarke was giv­ing out dur­ing the week.

The New­town na­tive was at the launch­ing of the Mater Heart Ap­peal for 2009 last Thurs­day and af­ter be­ing forced to re­tire from pro­fes­sional foot­ball since his own heart trou­ble in 2007; his mes­sage should carry some weight

The twice capped Repub­lic of Ire­land de­fender also re­called how he was re­vived af­ter his dou­ble heart at­tack when he was just mo­ments from death.

‘I had no his­tory of heart prob­lems or ill­ness in the fam­ily.

‘I wasn’t in any pain at all - I just felt lethar­gic and tired which is some­thing you would feel when you were play­ing sport at a high level.

‘The first I knew about my heart prob­lems was when I woke up in the am­bu­lance.’

Clarke was only saved by the emer­gency med­i­cal treat­ment at the sta­dium, some­thing most peo­ple wouldn’t have ac­cess to should they suf­fer the same faith as Clarke.

The 29-year old ad­mits the cause of the at­tacks is un­known.

‘I only spent ten days in hospi­tal but I was fit­ted with a de­fib­ril­la­tor that mon­i­tors ev­ery heart­beat and can shock my heart into work­ing again if it stops.

‘But I felt right as rain af­ter about three days.

‘I kind of knew the writ­ing was on the wall for my ca­reer then. But at the same time I had to think of my fam­ily and count my bless­ings that I would see my girls grow up.’

Clarke is now a sports agent and re­sides in Stafford­shire, but as you can imag­ine still misses the pro­fes­sional game.

‘When I’m watch­ing a match some­times it can be hard as I would love to be able to play. My liveli­hood was also taken away, as were my boy­hood dreams of be­ing a foot­baller.

‘But I have my wife Sally and Erin, two, and Lily, 12 weeks, to think about.’

Clarke’s fam­ily have all been checked in case he suf­fered a hered­i­tary con­di­tion, but the re­sults came back good.

‘Hap­pily noth­ing was found but I would urge any­one who plays reg­u­lar sport to go and get screened as it could save your life.’

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