A BRADFORD rugby union club is holding a heart screening event in August following the tragic death of one of its players earlier this month.

Max Blakeley died during a match while playing for Yorkshire Men’s League rugby league side Birkenshaw Bluedogs on July 14, after coming off during the first half due to being unwell.

Mr Blakeley, 32, also played for Cleckheaton RUFC, and Cleckheaton head coach Thiu Barnard is organising a heart screening on Saturday, August 4, for all its players.

Heart screenings uncover any underlying conditions which players may unknowingly suffer from, to avoid similar tragedies in the future.

The club will have 100 spaces for players to get checked, with 30 reserved for players from Birkenshaw Bluedogs, and five for local match officials, with the remaining 65 places for players at the club.

Players have to be aged between 16 and 45 years old to get the screening done.

Mr Barnard said: “With the heartbreaking news of Max’s passing, I’ve realised that life is so short.

“We all risk playing sport without knowing if we are healthy.

“One moment can change our lives and the lives of the ones we love. I’m committed to change they way players and clubs approach the screening process.


“Cleckheaton RUFC could set a trend and lead by example. This could be start of something that could change the way we approach our health as players, referees and supporters.”

Mr Barnard said he is currently working with local charity the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund to make the event possible.

The charity was set up by Lizzie Jones following the tragic death of her husband, former Keighley Cougars captain Danny Jones, during a game away at London Skolars in 2015.

He was 29 and was found to suffer from an undiagnosed heart condition.

The Fund offers screening sessions and funding to all sports clubs, communities and schools to help people better understand their health.

Mr Barnard is also appealing for sponsors for the event, and he is asking any interested business are to get in touch by calling 07845 475206.