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Tuesday, 22 October, 2002, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK
Rugby dreams for pacemaker boy
Scott Gregory
Scott Gregory plays for Llanishen RFC
A junior rugby player from Cardiff, who had a pacemaker fitted when he was nine to overcome a serious heart condition, has become one of the top players in his team.

Scott Gregory, 12, from Llanishen, Cardiff, was originally reluctant to have the life-saving device because it would mean giving up his favourite sport.


Scott was very worried that he wouldn't be able to play rugby

Catherine Gregory, mother

He was diagnosed with bradycardia - an abnormally slow heart rhythm - after he started suffering from fainting episodes.

Doctors advised fitting a pacemaker to send electrical impulses into the heart to restore a normal beating pattern.

The devices are normally fitted just under the skin and patients are advised to give up contact sports.

But when surgeons at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff heard about Scott's love of rugby, they decided to fit the pacemaker under his chest muscle.

"They told us that by putting it under the muscle, it would be better protected and Scott could carry on playing rugby," said Scott's mother Catherine Gregory.

Since the device was fitted three-years ago, Scott has excelled in rugby and has ambitions to play for Wales.

A pacemaker (www.medtronic.co.uk)
A pacemaker sends tiny electrical impulses to the heart

Scott's condition meant his heart beat so slowly that not enough oxygen was pumped around his body.

He suffered symptoms of dizziness, tiredness, fainting and shortness of breath.

But he was more concerned about giving up the sport he had been playing since he was five.

His mother, Catherine Gregory said: "Scott was very worried that he wouldn't be able to play rugby.

"He told the surgeons that rugby was the only thing he wanted to do," she said.


I play outside half and love rugby - it's my favourite

Scott Gregory, player

On Tuesday, he took part in a trial to play for the under 13s Cardiff and Vale district team.

Scott, who has an older sister, Aimee, said: "This is the third time I have gone in for the trials.

"I just hope this time I will be third time lucky and get into the side.

"I play outside-half and love rugby. I play other sports like football and cricket, but rugby is my favourite.

"I was worried I would have to give it up when I had the pacemaker fitted," he added.

Worrying time

The schoolboy's father, Keith, coaches the Llanishen juniors.

"Scott trains twice a week with us and twice a week with his school, Llanishen High," said Mr Gregory.

"He is a very determined boy - as long as he has got a ball in his hand he is happy.

"When he was first diagnosed it was a very worrying time for us.

"But, since having the pacemaker, life has been normal and there are people who are a lot worse off than us," he added.

More than 10,000 people in south Wales are thought to be affected by bradycardia.


More from south east Wales
See also:

12 Sep 02 | Health
12 Jul 02 | Wales
26 Feb 02 | England
23 Jun 00 | G-I
06 Apr 00 | Health
13 Sep 99 | Sheffield 99
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