Career in limbo ... Adrian Purtell playing for the Panthers in 2010.

Career in limbo ... Adrian Purtell playing for the Panthers in 2010. Photo: Getty Images

Former Panthers and Raiders NRL star Adrian Purtell has suffered a heart attack after a match in Britain.

The Australian export is in the intensive care unit of a Leeds hospital after the heart attack just hours after playing for English Super League club Bradford Bulls.

The 27-year-old’s career hangs in the balance after he reported tightness in his chest on the team bus as the Bulls returned to Bradford from Manchester after their 37-22 loss to Leeds Rhinos at Etihad Stadium yesterday.

It’s the second major health scare for the former Penrith Panthers and Canberra Raiders centre.

Purtell discovered in 2007 he was suffering from deep vein thrombosis after a blood clot was found in his lungs.

Purtell’s mother, Fran, received the traumatic news via a phone call from a club doctor yesterday morning and quickly boarded a flight to Europe to be by her son’s side.

“Adrian had a heart attack,” she told The Border Mail before boarding a flight to Manchester, via Sydney.

“He had a blockage to one of the main arteries to the heart but he’s OK.

“He’s in Leeds hospital and is in good care.

“It was very frightening this morning for everyone.”

Purtell has been ordered to spend a minimum five days in hospital to recover and is believed to be in a stable condition.

Asked if her son would play again, she said: “I don’t know”.

She said Purtell, who played a full game against the Rhinos, had been feeling unwell for some time.

“He knew something was wrong,” Ms Purtell said.

“He said he had a sore chest a few weeks ago and was keeping an eye on it.

“He knew that something was amiss.

“It was hurting on the bus like it had been.

“The news for now is that he’s OK.

“His heart didn’t stop beating at that stage.

“If he’s allowed to go home he will.

“Thank the Lord his friend Josh Evans was there who is working in Leeds.”

“Josh went to school with Adrian.”

Purtell, who moved to Britain in November, signed a three-year deal with Bradford just weeks after playing his 100th NRL match.

He played 64 games for the Raiders and 46 for the Panthers.

He had closely monitored his health since the blood clot was found.

“He has been so conscious all these years and it’s happened again,” Ms Purtell said.

THE BORDER MAIL