Heart victim Purtell aims for comeback

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Bradford centre Adrian Purtell yesterday relived the 
moment he thought he was going to die as he set a date for his comeback.

The 28-year-old Australian has not played since suffering a heart attack in the aftermath of Bradford’s Magic Weekend defeat by Leeds at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium on 27 May. It happened two months after footballer Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup match between Bolton and Tottenham Hotspur.

“It was scary when they first told me and I was there by myself,” Purtell recalled. “At that point I didn’t know anything about the situation and thought: ‘Am I doing to die?’”

Purtell spent three days in hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery, and went through a series of MRI scans over the following months.

However, unlike Muamba, who has been forced to retire, Purtell was given the all-clear in November to resume his career and has set his sights on returning to action next month.

In the meantime he has pledged to help other heart attack victims and, at the Bulls’ Provident Stadium yesterday, he was unveiled as Yorkshire’s first ambassador for Heart Research.

“This is a special one for me because I know at first hand what needs to be done in those scary situations,” said Purtell.

Purtell, who has made eight Super League appearances so far, plans to see out the remaining two years of his Bradford contract and, after retaining the 
No 4 shirt, believes he is within six weeks of making his return.