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22-year-old footballer forced to retire after uncovering serious heart condition

Lewis Hardcastle, a player for English Football League (EFL) member Barrow AFC, has been forced into retirement aged 22 due to a serious heart condition.

Hardcastle, who made his way through the ranks at Blackburn Rovers before joining Barrow in 2019 following a successful loan spell, fell ill during a game against Salford City lats month.

In total, he made 69 appearances for Barrow and captained the side on a number of occasions, an impressive feat for someone of his age, and also played a kay role in his teams promotion back to the Football League after winning the 2019/20 National League title.

"Barrow AFC is saddened to announce the retirement from professional football of Lewis Hardcastle," the League Two side said in a statement. "After he became ill during our game at Salford City last month, investigations uncovered an issue with his heart.

"Following the diagnosis of his condition, Lewis underwent a procedure to treat it. However, after further consultations with cardiologists, he has received medical advice which has, devastatingly, left him unable to continue his career.

"The club is doing everything it can to support Lewis and his family at this very difficult time and further announcements will be made in the coming weeks."

In a statement released on Twitter, Hardcastle said: "My doctor told me the news no footballer or young athlete should ever hear, he told me my case was so severe that I needed an ICD implant in my heart to save my life.

"He advised that it would be unsafe to play football again due to the risk of me having a cardiac arrest.

"My life is worth more than football and I could not put my family through the worry of watching me knowing something could happen."

Author: Jake Wilkin