Welsh Rugby Legend Opens His Heart!


Wales rugby star Ian Gough has become a patron for Wales’ leading heart charity as he opens up about his own heart scare earlier this year for the first time.


The former Ospreys player was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation – an irregular and abnormally fast heart rate following a heart screening session.


Now fighting fit after an operation in March, Ian is teaming up with Welsh Hearts Cymru to provide better access to heart screening and life-saving defibrillators across Wales.


He said “I can’t stress how important it is to get your heart screened. It could save your life. After experiencing shortness of breath and exhaustion after a just few minutes of playing rugby or running, I finally went for a heart screening to try and get to the bottom of the symptoms. The diagnosis knocked me for six.”


Atrial fibrillation can cause dizziness, shortness of breath, extreme tiredness and heart palpitations. A normal heart rate should be regular and between 60 and 100 beats a minute when you’re resting but, in cases of atrial fibrillation, the heart's upper chambers contract randomly and sometimes so fast that the heart muscle cannot relax properly between contractions. This reduces the heart's efficiency and performance.


“Luckily my diagnosis was not life threatening, but that is not always the case,” said Ian. “Over 600 young people die every year in the UK because of undetected heart conditions. It is like a ticking time bomb. My experience really opened my eyes to the importance of heart screening.


“I am thrilled to be a patron for Welsh Hearts Cymru. The charity does amazing work highlighting the importance of screenings and raising awareness for the need for more defibrillators in businesses, schools and other venues around Wales.”


Welsh Hearts offers free heart screening sessions across Wales for children over five years old as well as adults. 

Sharon Owen, founder and director of Welsh Hearts, said: “We are tackling two important issues – detecting previously undiagnosed heart conditions so that people can get the right treatment before it’s too late, and ensuring that people having a cardiac arrest have a better chance of survival by having access to a defibrillator.


“Every second counts if you are in cardiac arrest and there are 8,000 sudden cardiac arrests outside of hospitals every year in Wales. The survival rate is just three percent. Having easy access to a defibrillator can help other people restart that person’s heart and save their life. Survival rates can increase to 50% when a defibrillator is used but the response has to be quick. That’s why we are trying to get as many defibrillators into public places in Wales as we can. We also provide free CPR training.


“It’s so inspiring that Ian has opened up and talked about how heart screening helped him in order to save more lives. We are delighted that he is now our patron.”


Screening Sessions cost the charity £5,000 per session for a full day and we cannot continue delivering these sessions without your financial support! Please support this worthwhile cause and help us save lives in Wales


For details on free heart screening sessions near you or to donate to the cause, visit www.welshhearts.org or call 02929 647735.

Sharon Owen




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Team @ AberdareOnline

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