A FORMER Longcroft School pupil has been picked to play rugby for England despite undergoing a serious heart operation less than two months ago.
17-year-old Daniel Preston-Routledge was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome in December last year following an EGC test carried out by charity, CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young.)
Following his diagnosis Daniel underwent treatment in January in an attempt to stabilise his heart rate.
The rubgy union player, who is currently studying for his A-levels at Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley, West Yorkshire, was back on the pitch two weeks after undergoing treatment.
Following his heart operation Mr Preston-Routledge was invited to try-out for the North of England under 18’s and was accepted before being selected to play for the England under 18’s Schools and Clubs team.
Daniel said: “I feel really lucky to be playing so soon, after the heart op I thought I’d lost it. I thought I would be out for at least the rest of the season.”
Daniel, whose parents live in Beverley, started playing rugby aged 7 for Beverley RUFC and has since played both rugby union and rugby league for Beverley, Cottingham Tigers and Hull Service Area.
The young rugby star joined Hull Ionians aged 13 and after only one game was picked to try-out for East Yorkshire and gained a place in the team.
Daniel now plays for Leeds Carnegie’s Junior Development Squad and has previously played for Yorkshire U15’s.
The teenager was also picked to play for England U16’s but was forced to miss out due a broken scaphoid which saw him undergo a bone graft on his wrist, leaving him unable to play for half a season.
This set-back and his heart operation left Daniel doubting his chances of playing for England this season.
Daniel said: “After the scaphoid problem and the heart op the season was looking pretty dull but I got picked for North England and to try-out for England was just amazing.”
Daniel, who has also had success in athletics and holds the current indoor shot record at an athletic event in Sheffield, will play his international debut against Ireland at Easter.
“To be picked for England is just brilliant, I have always dreamed of becoming a professional rugby player and it just feels like I am getting one step closer.
“I am really excited for the game against Ireland and to get my first cap,” Daniel added.
Daniel will be supported in his endeavours for England by his parents, with proud mum Gaynor Preston-Routledge saying: “His passion and determination are second to none despite his setbacks.”