Clarke urges players to have health check
SOCCER FOOTBALLER FORCED TO RETIRE FROM GAME
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.’