Former Orient Man In Heart Scare

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Former Orient player Kevin Austin spent last Tuesday night in hospital after suffering a minor heart attack.

The 34-year-old, who currently plays for Swansea City, left the field of play after just twenty minutes of the game at Yeovil some ten days ago and complained that he was struggling to breathe.

An electrocardiogram (ECG) – an examination of the electrical activity of the heart – showed up abnormalities, and worries grew over Austin’s health.

But further tests have allayed those fears, and Austin should return to first team action within days.

‘Kevin came off against Yeovil because he was struggling to perform as he knows he can,’ explained Swansea physio Richie Evans.

‘He is a long-term asthma sufferer and had a viral infection which caused more tightness in his chest. ‘We had to investigate the problem further, and an ECG done by our doctor, Dr Streph Amos, showed an irregular trace. We then referred him to the cardiology department at Morriston Hospital for another ECG and again it showed an irregularity. Their initial feeling was that he had suffered a minor heart attack – not during the Yeovil game but some time over the weekend – and they kept him in overnight. They conducted two ECGs the next day. One, at rest, was irregular, while the second, under exercise, was normal. From that moment the panic was over.’

Evans continued: ‘They felt the irregularity was because Kevin has a fit and athletic heart, which is enlarged because he is an athlete. The irregularities have been put down to that. We have done everything to try to rule out a heart condition, which there’s no history of in Kevin’s family or in Kevin himself. He will have an angiogram, which is an in-depth look at the coronary artery, tonight, and if that is okay he will be ready to return to training.We’re optimistic that there will not be a problem.’

New Swansea boss Roberto Martinez, who watched the Yeovil game from the stands, admitted Austin’s situation had been a major concern.

‘It was a worry for all of us,’ he said. The doctors were being cautious, they didn’t want to take any risks and Kevin wasn’t even allowed to drive or do anything like that at one stage. But we’re really happy now that everything is okay and we’re just waiting for the go-ahead for him to start training again. The fact is that the heart of a footballer or a sportsman sometimes becomes irregular compared to a normal person. But I think we can see that Kevin is a big man with a big heart and that’s why things got a bit confused. We hope now he is on the way back.’

Hackney born defender Austin made over 100 appearances for Orient between 1993 and 1996 before moving to Lincoln City for £30,000.

Austin, who started off at Saffron Walden prior to his move to Brisbane Road, has also had spells Barnsley, Cambridge and Bristol Rovers as well as a loan spell at Brentford.

Everyone here at Vital Orient wishes Kevin a very speedy recovery.

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