Brighton's Connor Goldson wants to return after heart surgery

Connor Goldson
Connor Goldson has made eight first-team appearances for Brighton this season

Brighton defender Connor Goldson is determined to return to playing after being diagnosed with a heart issue.

The 24-year-old requires preventative surgery after the problem was discovered in routine cardiac screening by the Championship club.

"Football has always been my life but at 24 this has put my life into perspective," he posted on Twitter.

"I know I'm strong enough to recover and determined to be back on a football pitch where I'm happiest."

Goldson has been ruled out for the rest of the season by the Seagulls, and a precise timescale for his recovery has not been given.

Heart defects previously forced former Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba and ex-England and Nottinghamshire cricketer James Taylor to retire.

Goldson thanked his team-mates, Albion staff, girlfriend and family for their support during the "toughest few days" of his life.

"Your support had kept me positive," he wrote. "I am so grateful to the be at the club I am at."

'I'd quit football for him'

David Stockdale and Connor Goldson
Albion goalkeeper David Stockdale said Goldson's diagnosis came as a "big shock" to the squad

Brighton goalkeeper David Stockdale was among those to praise the centre-back's resilience.

"It's hard because Connor is a valuable member of the squad on and off the pitch," Stockdale told BBC Sussex following Sunday's 3-3 draw at Brentford.

"It was amazing how he came out of it positively. I'd quit football for him if it meant him staying alive. You don't want to see people in that situation."

Republic of Ireland international Shane Duffy said he was "devastated" for the former Shrewsbury player.

"You don't like that stuff happening to your team-mate," the 25-year-old said.

"It was difficult because it is not just a football thing, but a life matter. You worry as you are close to him but we all believe he will be fine and will be back."

Detection improving

Fabrice Muamba
Fabrice Muamba was "in effect" dead for 78 minutes after collapsing mid-match

Cardiac screening for sportsmen has improved since England Under-21 international Muamba collapsed on the pitch during an FA Cup tie between Bolton and Tottenham in March 2012.

Several footballers have died suddenly because of heart issues, including Cameroon international Marc-Vivien Foe, Sevilla defender Antonio Puerta and Espanyol captain Daniel Jarque.

"The problem (for players) has always been there but it has been highlighted by the advances in technology and the medical industry," Shrewsbury Town physio Chris Skitt, who knows Goldson from his spell at the club, told BBC Radio Shropshire.

"We have tried to look at it as a blessing, as we have found out now and not had to wait for something to happen."

Cardiologist Dr Leonard Shapiro told BBC Sussex that Goldson's recovery would depend on the centre-back's precise diagnosis.

"If a serious cardiac issue is found, which is giving him a risk of serious injury or death, it will depend on its severity whether he gets back to professional football," said Shapiro, who works at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge.

"There are a variety of things it could be like structural abnormalities in the valves, muscle or arteries.

"Changes in the rhythm in the heart are more difficult to detect and a lot of these only detectable by genetic testing."

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