LONDON, Reuter: Chris Hemming has made soccer history by becoming the first professional player to be fitted with a heart pacemaker.

Hemming, a defender who will be 21 next month, had the pacemaker fitted last summer after persistent breathing problems. But his club stoke, lying seventh in the English league second division, have only just released the news.

Manager Mick Mills said: “We wanted to see how he coped when he came back before we released the story. We did not want to put further pressure on the lad at the time.

“He was not quite right early on and twice had to go back to have the pacemaker reset. Now it seems he has battled through his own personal trauma”.

Hemming, who joined stoke from school, complained two years ago of breathing difficulties. He forced his way into the first team last season but was still struggling to finish games.

Last Tuesday night he came through a game without difficulty as Stoke beat second division rivals Sunderland 30.

Mills, a former England Captain, said: “It is right that people outside the club are now made aware of his fight to play football for us. He is now battling through a full game and should have no physical fears in the future”.

Article extracted from this publication >>  March 27, 1987