Sheffield Wednesday: Owls set their hearts on the future of youngsters

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Sheffield Wednesday might not be getting results on the pitch - but their hearts are certainly in the right place off the field.

The Owls, currently languishing in the Championship relegation zone, recently held their own cardiac screening programme with schoolboy players, aged from 12 to 16.

It was over a year and a half ago that Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch following a cardiac arrest.

Many professional academies overlook a schoolboy player’s medical wellbeing as it is not compulsory for youngsters to undergo any cardiac screening as part of their induction to a club.

But led by academy boss Dean Ramsdale, Owls starlets recently took part in an electrocardiogram (ECG) assessment at the club’s training ground.

Ash Fickling, Owls academy head physiotherapist, said: “Although the possibility that any of our players would actually have a cardiac problem are slim, if this process helps prevent just one cardiac complication in the near or distant future it has been extremely worthwhile.

“It is important to remember that even though the academy has a job to produce elite professionals, its first priority must be the wellbeing of the players.”

Carl Wells, head of academy sport science and medicine, said: “The sport science and medical department at the Sheffield Wednesday academy is always looking to progress and improve the quality of support it can provide to its players. By taking the step of voluntarily screening our schoolboy players cardiac health we are matching the practises of leading Premier League clubs.

“Following the success of this initiative it will now become an established part of the academy’s medical screening procedures, forming a core function in ensuring player wellbeing now and in the future.”