Former Lions player to have heart surgery

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FORMER Featherstone Lions player Keal Carlile (pictured) will undergo heart surgery in a bid to get his Super League career back on track.

The 21-year-old Huddersfield Giants hooker made a dream start to the season, scoring a try on his full Super League debut in the Giants’ 28-18 win over Warrington in Cardiff in February, but was struck down by a mystery illness a week later in a match at Castleford Tigers.

Pontefract-born Carlile, who was formerly with Bradford Bulls, underwent exhaustive tests from Harley Street specialists which have revealed a valve problem and he will have an operation next week.

“It’s been a very worrying time since this extreme fatigue hit me during the Castleford game in February and caused me to come off,” he said.

“It’s related to a valve in my heart which has taken some tracking down and surprised me as I have always felt really fit and healthy.

“Surgery will bring me back even better, the specialist says, and I have to thank the club for continuing to explore every avenue until we got to the bottom of the problem.

“Obviously I feared the worst when the problem was explained to me but, as I listened more to the specialist, it’s clear to me that it is fairly easy to sort and once it is done I will be much fitter and stronger.

“All I want to do now is get the procedure done which I am told is fairly routine and get back into training as soon as possible to get fit for the challenge ahead.”

Huddersfield managing director Richard Thewlis said: “It’s great that we have finally got some light at the end of the tunnel for Keal.

“There were some worrying thoughts when the extreme fatigue hit and I have to pay credit to our medical staff for the way they have worked through this with Keal.

“The result of which is likely to be an even stronger and fitter player.

“He is a smashing young man with a tremendous attitude to every challenge and I am sure that he will recover from the operation relatively quickly and begin the rehabilitation process.

“It’s difficult for him and his medical team to set a return date for him at this stage as whilst we have been trying to fully diagnose the problem he has not been training so his base is very low and clearly the operation will reduce that even further.

“The good news though is that he will be able to return to rugby.”