Semi-professional footballer Ryan Hope insists more should be done in football across all levels of the game to raise awareness of heart conditions after attending the Heart4More Foundation Gala Dinner.
The 20-year-old was one of 160 guests along with Arsenal trio Hector Bellerin, Nacho Monreal and Santi Cazorla. The Foundation’s story evolved after former Millwall striker Tobi Alabi suffered a cardiac arrest whilst playing for Metropolitan Police in October 2013.
Hope has been in the professional game with Watford - training with the first-team when Foundation ambassador Hector Bellerin was on loan at the club - and in non-league with Slough Town (where he won Young Player of the Year), Harrow Borough, Boredom Wood and Wealdstone and believes raising awareness of heart conditions is imperative.
“It is very important to raise awareness of heart conditions in football as it can happen to anyone at any time and we need to try and prevent these things from happening.
“At all levels of football this should be made more aware and it has happened a few times in the last ten years and we do not want to see players doing what they love suffering from something like that on a football pitch.
“I would not be comfortable on how to deal with a situation like that, so I think it should definantly be made more aware at all levels starting from grassroots all the one up to the professional level.
“It was great to see the likes of Hector Bellerin, Santi Cazola and Nacho Monreal supporting the event and with Hector being a player I used to train with on a frequent basis it was great to catch up with him and see him doing so well in the game.”
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