COACH Kieron Brown admitted it was by sheer chance he had a heart screening at Waterhead Warriors Amateur Rugby League Club that uncovered a potential serious issue.
But the 37-year-old is glad he had a check for the problem that he initially put down to indigestion.
And father-of-one Kieron has since declared his backing for the screening, saying: “I know the screenings are expensive, but they are definitely something sports clubs should do.
“My problem could have developed into something much worse had I not been screened and the problem left untreated.
“Out of about 100 people screened at Waterhead, I think something was found wrong with the results of five or six who needed further checks.”
Kieron, who coaches the U7s, never envisaged for one moment he had a health issue as he is a fireman, ran the Manchester Marathon earlier this year and was training for a 100-mile bike ride when his problem was diagnosed.
Kieron had gone along to Peach Road to collect kit for a junior match when the screenings were taking place – the £6,000 cost was financed by club fundraising and the Danny Jones Foundation.
He said: “I had the screening and went to coach the kids and didn’t think any more of it.
“Later in the day I received a call saying the doctor was looking for me. He told me I needed another test and suggested I should go to hospital.
“I didn’t want to as it was Sunday night so he told me to go and see my doctor on Monday morning.
“My doctor wrote a letter for me to go to hospital immediately and wanted to call an ambulance, but I insisted on driving.”
Before Kieron knew, he was attached to various machines at Royal Oldham Hospital as there were initial fears about blood clotting that could have had fatal consequences.
They revealed a lot of internal bruising and swelling around the rib cage and that was putting pressure on his heart and restricting the blood flow.
Kieron said: “When you are hooked up to machines, you fear it may be something serious. It was a relief it wasn’t.
“Obviously doing exercise wasn’t helping and it could have developed into something more serious had it not been treated.”
One week after his scare, Kieran got to meet Lizzie Jones at Waterhead’s charity sevens tournament that raised funds for the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund and Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).
Lizzie was the driving force behind the screening and also installation of defibrillators at all National Conference League clubs. That came after her husband Danny collapsed and died playing for Keighley Cougars in May 2015.