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Page last updated at 09:42 GMT, Monday, 14 February 2011

Football is all I've known - Ex-Oxford winger Cole

Mitchell Cole
Cole has made five appearances for Oxford this season

Former Oxford United winger Mitchell Cole has said he plans to remain involved with football after being forced to retire from the game.

Cole, 25, who made five appearances for the U's, retired from football last week, due to a heart condition.

"Retiring is like being hit by a ton of bricks because football is all I've ever known," Cole told BBC Oxford.

"I've got coaching badges so I could do that or become a football agent, I've built up contacts over the years."

Cole, who joined the U's from Stevenage in June 2010, discovered he had the heart condition as a 17-year-old when he was a schoolboy at West Ham.

"The Football Association picked it up through the regular screenings they do when taking on young players," the former Southend man said.

"There wasn't much known about my condition then in terms of diagnosis and the actions to take, so I took it upon myself to carry on playing football.

The winger started suffering from shortness of breath in November 2010 during training and matches.

After taking medical tests was advised by a leading cardiologist to stop playing competitive football to avoid the risk of a serious heart episode.

"I've managed to get eight years out of the professional game which I am extremely happy with.

"Oxford have been brilliant, they are helping me in anyway they can and I'm speaking to the chairman [Kelvin Thomas] all the time, he's opening up avenues for me outside of playing football."

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see also
U's winger Cole forced to retire
08 Feb 11 |  Oxford Utd
Cole's goals help Oxford to win
14 Jul 10 |  Oxford Utd
Stevenage's Cole in Oxford switch
14 Jun 10 |  Oxford Utd

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