KEIGHLEY Cougars player Jordan Aitchison is to have an operation following the diagnosis of a heart condition.

Club doctor and widely respected cardiologist, Dr Richard Lawrence, discovered the condition during a routine screening at training earlier this month.

Utility back Aitchison - who made his first-team debut last season having come through the reserve ranks - has been advised that the condition can be cured with an operation and is awaiting confirmation of a date for surgery.

Cougars chief Rhys Lovegrove said: “This is an extremely difficult period for Jordan and one that as his head coach I will fully back him throughout.

“Jordan showed last season the ability he possesses with man of the match performances against Oldham and London, and I have no doubt that he will back at his best once again following the completion of his treatment.

“The boys are all supporting 'Aitch' at this time and that shows the collective team spirit that this group of human beings has going forward into the season.

“I’d like to place on record my own personal thanks to the doc, Richard, for discovering this condition and allowing Aitch to receive the appropriate treatment that will enable him to continue his blossoming rugby league career.

“The Cougars as a club will fully support Jordan, from the board of directors through to Jordan’s coaches, teammates, the backroom staff and our fantastic supporters base through this difficult period in his career and life.”

The condition is one that Aitchison - who had a brief spell in the Bulls Academy in addition to coming through the Cougars scholarship - has had since birth but was detected by the heart screening which was made mandatory by the sport’s governing body in 2015 following the death of Keighley Cougars' Danny Jones after a cardiac arrest.

Cougars added in a statement: "The club would like to thank Dr Richard Lawrence, the Rugby Football League and the cardiology consultant that has, since the discovery of the condition, been treating Jordan for their help during this period.

"Jordan would also like to state his 'thank you' to the club for their continued support and say to his fellow rugby league players, both professional and amateur, to please undertake all medical examinations available to them."