The Heartbeat of Sport charity are very pleased this week to announce our first ambassador to the charity, Rugby League legend John Kear.
John is a commanding figure in the world of Rugby League and his profile, management abilities and character will help the charity to continue our work in the local community and further afield.
Speaking to Pete Emmett after joining the team, John explains his reasons for joining the charity and his aspirations and beliefs for the future of Heartbeat as well as delving into his own traumatic experiences with heart defects in the past.
John was the Head Coach of the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and during his tenure in the position was a part of two horrific incidents that took place.
During an informal training session with a select few first team players, Prop forward Adam Watene suddenly collapsed during the session. With the medical staff at the club unable to revive him, Adam sadly passed away, leaving the Rugby League world shocked by the news.
The tragic incident was followed by another in the same year when up and coming youngster Liam Walker suffered a heart attack whilst playing a reserves game in the South of Wales and sadly passed away.
As well as his father also passing away to a heart attack, these incidents have left John wanting to do something to help communities in sport avoid such tragedies and he believes that the younger age groups have to be screened quickly, as it could affect lifestyles and signal problems earlier on in people’s lives.
After telling Pete about his time as the Wakefield coach, he acknowledges that if in fact both players had the opportunity to have been screened, then perhaps any defects within the heart could have been picked up on and prevented the outcome.
During the interview, it is easy to feel John’s passion for his new role and his belief that screening and defibrillators will absolutely save lives in the future. He highlights the importance of support for the charity and that their supporters should get behind them as much as possible, raising the funds to spread their work further afield.
Everyone is very excited to see what John brings to his role with the charity. Following our successful first year and a great start to our second, the appointment can only be a sign that things are rapidly growing within the charity.