A South Shields FC player has revealed details of a health scare which medics initially thought was a heart attack.
Defender Gary Brown was substituted during South Shields' 11-0 Durham Challenge Cup win over West Auckland Tunns in October because of chest pains.
Club physio Andy Morris immediately sent the 31-year-old to hospital, where he was given the alarming initial diagnosis that he had experienced a ‘mild’ heart attack.
Further tests showed that it was unlikely that was the case, but Brown continues to be closely monitored by health professionals as they try to get to the root of the issue.
The night spent in hospital after the game was particularly distressing for Brown, who was later relieved to discover the problem was not as serious as first thought.
He said: "It was strange,
“I felt a bit funny at half-time and came out in the second half with chest pains, and I was sick.
“Andy took me straight off and sent me straight to hospital.
“There was an initial 12-hour period that I was told I had a mild heart attack, before a couple of other doctors looked into it and decided that I hadn’t.
“I’ve since undergone a lot of tests and I’m in to see the cardiologist at the end of January, when I’ll find out the outcome of all that.”
Brown was sent into a state of panic after the initial diagnosis.
He added: “Everything just went out of the window.
“I was still in my tracksuit and the first thing I thought of was my kids and my missus.
“It was 1am and I didn’t know who to phone and who to wake up out of bed.
“They kept me in hospital so it was a bad 12 hours.
“They haven’t specifically told me it wasn’t a heart attack, but they have given me a condition that I have got on my heart, which wouldn’t have been found it I didn’t have those tests and it’s something anyone could be living with without any symptoms.
“I’m in to see the cardiologist at the end of the month but they’ve basically said that there’s nothing to worry about.
“I’ve been flat out in training and games, and touch wood I’ve had no other problems.”
Brown was immediately told by doctors that he was able to return to training and playing, and he set about regaining a regular place in the Shields line-up.
He started the campaign as a regular starter before losing his place, and it has only been recently that the defender has forced his way back into the team, mainly at right-back.