Football injury unveils Jonny’s heart defect

Kickabout: Jonny and his sister Louise (18).

Kickabout: Jonny and his sister Louise (18).

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A CROWLAND teenager is to have a life-saving operation after doctors discovered a potentially deadly heart condition following a football injury.

Paramedics were called when bystanders thought they heard a crunch after 13-year-old Jonny Nightingale was involved in a crunching tackle with the opposition’s goalkeeper during a Crowland Junior Under-13s match against Hampton.

The emergency crew soon discovered that Jonny had not suffered any serious injury, but told his worried parents they were concerned he was breathless and had a rapid heart rate.

Dad Kevin (43) said: “I had gone home to pick some stuff up and I called my wife who was with him while he was being assessed by the paramedics.

“They asked her if Jonny had a heart problem because they weren’t happy with his colour and when they monitored his heart it showed an irregular rhythm.

“When we got to the hospital they did an ECG which picked up that he had a rare condition, which can be to blame for some cases of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.

“He has since had some tests at Great Ormond Street and they are going to operate. They say it’s a minor operation on a major organ.”

Jonny, who lives with his parents in Millfield Gardens, has potentially fatal Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, a birth defect in which the heart’s electrical signals are irregular.

Kevin said: “For a few weeks before this happened we had noticed that he had been tired when he got home from school.

“He goes to Spalding Grammar School and we just thought it was a bit too much for him and put it down to him being a typical teenager.”

Jonny, who is due to have the operation next Thursday, has now returned to school, going to lessons in the morning and working from home in the afternoon.

Kevin said: “He is still tired all the time, but we have had a meeting with his teachers and they are aware of his condition. The school even has a defibrillator in case of emergencies.”

Kevin added: “He suffered ligament damage in the tackle, but it has been a blessing in disguise as had this not happened we probably wouldn’t have known about his condition.

“He’s definitely got someone watching over him and looking out for him.

“Not only that, but he’s a Chelsea fan and he’s been told there’s a signed John Terry shirt on its way after his story appeared in a national newspaper.”