England and Saracens star becomes first ever sportsman to return after surgery for a dilated aorta - Ruck

England and Saracens star becomes first ever sportsman to return after surgery for a dilated aorta

According to a report in The Times, in early September 2022, Nick Isiekwe, a rugby player for Saracens, lay on an operating table at London Bridge Hospital, undergoing open-heart surgery.

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His diagnosis: a dilated aorta, the primary blood vessel responsible for transporting high-pressure oxygenated blood from the heart. Isiekwe’s aorta had dangerously swelled; its diameter, ideally no wider than 3.8cm, had ballooned to 5cm.”

In his interview with The Times, Isiekwe shared his experience: “It was a scary time,” Isiekwe said. “There was a real sense of, ‘This problem is real. This problem is big’.

The gratitude I have for this man is incredible,” Isiekwe says. “We play sport and people like to watch but it is guys like Conal Austin who save people’s lives. They are the real heroes. The things these guys can do is mind-blowing.

The procedure performed by  Austin – personalised external aortic root support (Pears) – is not yet approved by the FDA in the United States but it has been used in more than 840 people in the world since it was invented 19 years ago.

Nick Isiekwe is believed to be the first professional athlete to return to sustained elite contact sport after surgery for a dilated aorta. He was back playing for Saracens before Christmas, within four months of having his breastbone split open.

I was astonished,” Austin says. “I tell my surgical colleagues all around the world about this. They say that to return to elite level contact sport so soon after major cardiac surgery and to represent England was unique.

Isiekwe added”: “Conal Austin is doing unbelievable work which hasn’t had enough attention. It’s revolutionary. I honestly can’t thank him enough.

This season the powerhouse forward has continued to star for Sarries, making 17 appearances in alll competitions for the men in black.

Mike Tindall is one of rugby’s richest men with huge net worth

The rugby world isn’t just about breathtaking tries and fierce tackles; it’s also a realm where fortunes are made. Here’s the lowdown on the top 10 wealthiest rugby players right now:

10. Owen Farrell – £1.46 million ($2 million)
Saracens are making waves in the Premiership, and Owen Farrell, their skipper, is reaping the rewards. The bulk of his net worth, a cool £1.46 million, flows directly from his dedication to Saracens.

9. Maro Itoje – £1.46 million ($2 million)
Teammate to Farrell both at England and Saracens, Maro Itoje is on a trajectory to become one of rugby’s highest earners. His salary, comparable to the national skipper’s, showcases his potential.

8. Charles Piutau – £1.85 million ($2.5 million)
Former All Blacks player Charles Piutau’s move to Bristol Bears came with an eyewatering salary. The club’s investment in him during his five seasons speaks volumes about his impact.