Barrow AFC ace Owen: My fear of Muamba moment
Last updated at 13:09, Saturday, 17 November 2012
JAMES Owen has described how he feared having an on-pitch heart attack like Fabrice Muamba.
The 21-year-old Barrow AFC midfield terrier first felt unwell during the Bluebirds’ 3-0 defeat at Wrexham two months ago.
The Welsh ace, who could be on the bench when relegation-battling Barrow host high-flying Forest Green Rovers in Blue Square Bet Premier at Holker Street tomorrow (kick-off 3pm), said: “I was working really hard and my heart suddenly started racing.
“It felt like my heart was going to come out of my chest.
“I kneeled down on the pitch for about 30 seconds until I felt fine then started playing again.
“I thought nothing of it until it happened again before the next game (against Cambridge United in which Owen was sent off after just three minutes for handball on the line).
“Then it happened in training and then in a charity match in Wales, when I was only really walking around the pitch.
“I didn’t tell anyone for a few weeks, then I spoke to (Barrow AFC physio) Sean Riley, who straight away stopped me playing and training.
“Having seen what happened to Fabrice Muamba (the 24-year-old former Bolton Wanderers player who suffered an on-pitch cardiac arrest during a televised FA Cup match at Tottenham in March before making a miracle recovery), I was worrying something like that might happen to me and I was always thinking the worst.”
Having told Riley about his concerns Owen, who made a welcome return to the substitutes’ bench on Tuesday night for the FA Cup first round 1-0 replay win over Guiseley, was taken for immediate medical attention.
Riley said: “Obviously there was what happened to Fabrice Muamba and while I’m not suggesting this situation was the same you just can’t take any chances.
“A number of athletes have suffered from sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS) which comes on with exercise, so the first thing obviously was to stop James exercising until we had the all-clear from a heart specialist.
“With the full support of the club and (Barrow AFC manager Dave Bayliss) Bayles, I rang a contact from my time at Preston North End, a guy I got up from Wales to do the cardiac testing of the players there.
“We got James into see him for an ECG test (an electrocardiogram which records the heart’s rhythm and electrical activity) and an echocardiogram test (which uses sound waves that echo against structures in the heart to build up a detailed picture of the organ). The results came back fine but it was recommended James wear a heart monitor for a full 24-period. He did this towards the end of last month and the results again came back fine.
“Last Monday we then went to see a heart specialist so he could be tested while exercising.
“James did a strenuous treadmill run and again it didn’t recreate the initial problem of his increased heart rate and palpitations.
“From that the specialist said he was happy to allow James to return to football.
“For the next week-and-a-half he will carry round a piece of equipment in the shape of a credit card and if he gets any symptoms he will hold it to his body so it can record what his heart is doing.
“That way we can all keep a check on him.
“It might be that it was a cardiac virus that brought about James’s problems over that period of time, and if so we might never find out more about it.
“If the palpitations do recur we are pretty sure what the problem might be and it would require just a minor operation to sort out.”
Flintshire-based Owen, who joined the Bluebirds in March 2010 and has made 67 appearances, added: “It was a massive relief to have the test on Monday and everything go fine.
“I smiled all the way the way home. I had been so worried and thinking the worst.
“I just want to get back to playing football now, I have missed it so much.
“Sean has been brilliant throughout and I can’t thank him enough. The lads I live with (Owen is landlord to team-mates Mike Pearson, Shaun Pearson and Adam Boyes) have also been really supportive.”
First published at 17:02, Friday, 16 November 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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