Rugby League


'Am I going to die?': Purtell relives heart attack moment

LONDON: Bradford's Australian centre Adrian Purtell has relived the moment he thought he was going to die as he set a date for his comeback.

The 28-year-old rugby league player has not played since suffering a heart attack in the aftermath of Bradford's Magic Weekend defeat by Leeds at Manchester's Etihad Stadium on May 27.

It happened two months after soccer player Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup match between Bolton and Tottenham Hotspur.

"It was scary when they first told me - and I was there by myself," Purtell recalled.

"At that point I didn't know anything about the situation and thought 'am I going to die?'"

Purtell spent three days in hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery, and went through a series of MRI scans over the following months.


However, unlike Muamba, who was forced to retire, Purtell was given the all-clear in November to resume his career and has set his sights on returning to action before the end of next month.

Purtell resumed training three months ago but cannot do full contact work until he comes off his blood-thinning medication.

Bradford coach Francis Cummins admits the return of the former Canberra and Penrith player would be a boost for the club, especially after losing Michael Platt for 12 weeks with a knee injury but he is treading carefully.

"If you'd have asked me when he had his heart attack, I would have said there is no way he can come back and play rugby league," Cummins said.

"To be fair, I remember being sat around his bed and him talking about options and he was pretty headstrong that he would play again."