Player heart checks planned at Cleckheaton

Birkenshaw Bluedogs RL club hosted a gala last weekend in memory of Max Blakeley, who died after being taken ill during a game against. Several matches were held in the 32-year-old's memory. Picture: Paul Butterfield
Birkenshaw Bluedogs RL club hosted a gala last weekend in memory of Max Blakeley, who died after being taken ill during a game against. Several matches were held in the 32-year-old's memory. Picture: Paul Butterfield

Cleckheaton Rugby Union Club will host a heart screening day for players of both codes in the wake of the tragic death of Max Blakeley.

Max died after being taken ill while playing for Birkenshaw Bluedogs against Heworth last week.

The 32-year-old also played union for Cleckheaton and the club’s head coach Thiu Barnard has worked closely with the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund to organise a cardiac screening day at Moorend on Saturday August 4 to be run by special medical staff.

Screening takes around 20 minutes and the day will be restricted to 100 players getting checked.

The Birkenshaw club have been allocated 30 slots, with five referees also booking places, leaving 65 places remaining.

Barnard said: “This early detection of risk and preventative approach is something we think could make a difference to the lives of our players and our members and we have asked the sports’ governing bodies to consider adopting this too.

“The screening process only takes around 15-20 minutes per person and specific slots will be allocated.

“The screening session was aimed at players in the first instance but anyone can book a place and if there are slots available others will get screened.”

Screening will only open to people between the ages of 16 and 45 and slots must be pre booked.

The Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund have made a large contribution to funding the day, bringing the cost of screening players down from £60 per person to just £30.

Cleckheaton are also trying to get additional sponsorship to bring that cost down further and any company wanting to get involved would be welcome.

To book a heart screening check, contact Thiu on 07845 475206 or email him at thiub@yahoo.co.uk.