Tony Tonks urges RL to get serious about heart testing

Sheffield Eagles prop Tony Tonks wants to see rugby league take testing for heart conditions much more seriously, in the wake of the tragic death of Danny Jones.

The 30-year-old would like to see electrocardiography (ECG) to be made compulsory. He is chief executive of a charity, Heartbeat of Sport, which campaigns to see all sports clubs kitted out with the right equipment.

“I have been with the charity from the start and, from the moment I got involved, I knew what our goal would be,” he said, according to The Guardian.

“To make ECG screening compulsory in all levels of all sports and making sure these clubs have the right equipment, should the worst happen.

“In February 2014, we screened Halifax, which was the first championship club to ever be screened.

“I said Heartbeat of Sport would like to take this further in the future, to make sure every semi-professional club, and amateur clubs, get the chance to get the easy and simple test, that takes just 10 minutes, and helps save the lives of sports men and women who are at greater risk of cardiac problems.

“For the last two years I have been trying to stress the need for screening, defibrillators and CPR training throughout the rugby league community and all sporting clubs.

“Testing players for cardiac problems, I believe, should be done annually. As the standards of the competition goes up each year, the pressure on a player’s performance and training increases.

“The harder the players works, the more pressure the heart is under, each year, with minimal recovery in the off season until the competition starts again.

“I also believe that, after recent tragic events, an annual test will be peace of mind for the player and their family.

“We cannot 100% ensure that a cardiac arrest will not happen, even after an ECG, but it will almost certainly go a long way in helping reduce risk.”

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