He’s a super-fit Super League player – but just hours after a match Adrian Purtell was in hospital having suffered a heart attack.
Now the Bradford Bulls player has vowed to support work to prevent heart disease by a Leeds-based charity.
Adrian, who was taken ill following a Magic Weekend match against Leeds Rhinos last year, has become an ambassador for healthy lifestyles for Heart Research UK – their first from the sports arena.
The 27-year-old said: “What happened to me really shook me up, so I’d like to think that others in a similar situation will get the excellent care and same positive outcome as I did.
“I can testify to the excellent treatment I received, and it would be good to ensure that a charity like Heart Research UK has the necessary support so it can continue to fund research that helps to save peoples’ lives.”
The Australian was on the coach back from the game in Manchester on a hot day last May when he suffered a deep, hot burning sensation across his chest, then started being sick.
Medics treated him during the journey and the coach stopped at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, where tests confirmed he had had a heart attack.
“It was scary when they first told me – and I was there by myself. At that point I didn’t know anything about the situation and thought, ‘Am I going to die?’” he said.
At the cardiac centre at Leeds General Infirmary he was given an angioplasty to unblock a coronary artery.
Doctors were mystified as to why he had suffered a heart attack, with a specialist in London deciding it was probably a combination of factors, especially the heat.
With six weeks of leaving hospital he was running on a treadmill and was determined to play again if possible.
A series of scans and tests over the following months showed his heart was functioning normally and he was given the all clear in November.
Now he is in training and though he already lived healthily, has cut out snacks and reduced alcohol intake.
“I am just grateful for what the doctors did for me in getting me through the night,” he said.
“I was upset about the prospect of not playing, but I did come to the view that if that happened it wouldn’t be the end of the world as I was still alive.
“I was also just trying to be proactive and get back to some form of exercise as soon as possible.
“I’m so pleased that I’ve got the opportunity to play again.”