HUDDERSFIELD TOWN’S Academy are putting health first as they return to Canalside for pre-season training.
While the senior players are not back until next Thursday, the Under 18 squad were back yesterday and underwent heart screening.
Heart screening can help to identify previously undiagnosed heart disease and cardiac conditions, such as cardiomyopathy or heart rhythm abnormality.
The process is recommended by the likes of FIFA and the International Olympic Committee and is particularly relevant given a couple of high-profile incidents involving footballers this year.
Italian footballer Piermario Morosini suffered a fatal cardiac arrest whilst playing for Livorno in April, whereas Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered cardiac arrest playing at Tottenham Hotspur in March.
Town’s Academy manager Mark Lillis fully supports the screening and wanted all his players to go through it before returning to the training pitch today.
Steve Redmond, Head of Sports Science and Medicine at Town’s Academy, explained the importance of the procedure.
“This is an FA-run initiative that has been going for well over 10 years now; every Academy and Centre of Excellence has its scholars cardiac-screened at the start of every season.
“One of the driving forces behind the initiative was the tragic death of Daniel Yorath (son of former Town assistant manager Terry).
“It’s a very important process and we do get useful information back from the screening.
“A few minor issues have been flagged up over the years, but luckily for us so far any anomalies have been well within the acceptable parameters for our youngsters and there have never been any major problems. In minor cases, the club doctor is able to advise players on how to proceed.
“Sports medicine and sports fitness is already a critical part of our Academy programme and as we improve our approach, as part of the Elite Player Performance Plan, its importance will only grow.”