Hull FC launch groundbreaking initiative

Hull FC have become one of the first Super League sides to document their routine cardiac and neurological screenings as part of their pre-season preparations for the 2022 Super League season.

According to the Black and Whites’ website, players underwent the screenings last week at Hull University, with supporters also able to undergo a series of tests if they are concerned about potential cardiovascular problems.

7.6 million people live with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK, and every three minutes, somebody loses their life as a result of these cardiovascular issues.

Research by the British Heart Foundation indicated that around half of the population will get a heart or circulatory condition in their lifetime.

Dr Richard Lawrence, Chief Medical Officer of the Welsh national side and a member of both the Rugby Football League’s clinical advisory group and the International Rugby League’s medical committee, conducted the screening, and spoke to hullfc.com about the importance of players being tested.

“The cardiac screenings take place to detect inherited cardiac conditions, looking at heart muscle problems that may cause the heart to work our of kilter,” he said.

“You’ll remember six years ago, we sadly lost Welsh international player Danny Jones who tragically died on the field due to an undetected heart condition.

“Since then, we’ve worked hard to get it mandated that players get check annually so we avoid another tragic incident like Danny’s, and this screening with the squad today is part of that.”

Explaining what takes place during a cardiovascular screening, and the importance of anyone with symptoms of a cardiac condition, he added: “An ECG takes place which looks at the electrical activity which takes place in the heart; If you have an abnormal circuit in the heart, this will be detected.

“Or if you have abnormal muscle, which can also cause issues, this will also often be picked up due to an abnormal signal which will be detected.

“If we find anything significant, we’ll go on to look at the structure of the heart by doing a cardiac ultrasound or an MRI, or even putting the heart through stress in an exercise test to look at the rhythm stability over time.”

He continued: “For the general public, we would encourage people to come forward to get tested if they have any symptoms including palpitations, chest pains, breathlessness, blackouts, dizziness, or any family history cardiovascular issues. These are all red flags that we look out for, and we’d want them to come forward for an ECG, like the players have undergone with us.”

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