Toy to play despite heart condition
Gold Coast's Josh Toy. Photo: Paul Harris
TALENTED Gold Coast defender Josh Toy has been assured that a congenital heart problem diagnosed when he first joined the club three years ago should not cut short his AFL career.
Toy, who is interested in being traded home to a Melbourne club after playing 13 games in the Suns' first two seasons, has undergone two stress tests and consulted a cardiologist in the past week after clubs expressed concern about his condition and its effect on his aerobic capacity.
The 20-year-old, who has congenital heart block, was told on Tuesday that while he will require a pacemaker later in life, the condition will not prevent him from playing football. He will meet with the specialist again next week.
Toy was signed by the Gold Coast as a highly rated 17-year-old during 2009, meaning he didn't undergo medical checks - including an echocardiogram - at a draft camp.
The condition means he has both a low resting heart rate and a low maximum heart rate, which has a negative impact on his endurance and ability to increase it.
The only way to fix the problem is with a pacemaker, which would mean he could no longer play contact sport.
Toy remained in Melbourne to finish school in 2010 and has struggled to break into the line-up in the past two years, his 2012 season impacted by an Achilles problem that almost completely ruined his pre-season.
The Suns are sympathetic to Toy's desire to return home, given his strong sense of responsibility to his mother and brothers following the death of his father. One of his brothers is going into Year 12 next year and Toy would like to be around to support him.
He has spoken with the Western Bulldogs, Hawthorn and briefly with Essendon but also feels positive about remaining with the Suns, who have offered him a one-year contract extension, should a trade not be worked out.
Toy was a junior star when the Suns signed him, his kicking and reading of the play a highlight of his underage career at Essendon Grammar, the Calder Cannons and Vic Metro.
He was a member of the AIS-AFL Academy's 2008 intake along with Trent McKenzie, Shaun Atley, Mitch Duncan, Jack Darling and others, winning the Ben Mitchell Medal for his qualities both on and off the field.