JAMIE Symes has declared himself fortunate not to follow Fabrice Muamba and suffer a cardiac arrest on the field of play.
The Magpies’ midfielder collapsed in training earlier this year and was sidelined by doctors for almost a month.
He returned to the fold for the latter stages of the Blue Square Bet South campaign only to experience chest pains during the 3-0 defeat to Staines Town last month.
The incident “scared the life” out of concerned boss Phil Simkin and had he not withdrawn Symes at the interval, the latter could easily have found himself fighting for survival, much like Muamba in Bolton’s FA Cup clash at Tottenham back in March.
However, the brave 18-year-old is now determined to return for pre-season training.
Symes told Echosport: “It originally happened in training a few months ago. I had an infection in my heart and the doctors said that I should be okay to come back in three or four weeks, which I did.
“But it obviously didn’t heal properly and I made it worse. That’s why I had the reaction I did against Staines.
“I had to come off at half-time and it was a bit upsetting because I had just started getting in and around the team again.
“But the doctors said that if I had carried on playing there was a chance of me having a cardiac arrest, so I was quite lucky.
“It was quite scary and I stayed in hospital for three days, but hopefully I’m looking to return for the beginning of pre-season.
“I’m still on tablets and the doctors told me not to do any physical activity until late June. I’m a lot better now and a week ago I was able to go back to college.”
The homegrown talent added: “Ten per cent of people who have this problem suffer recurrences and if that’s the case for me the doctors have said they may have to repair the lining around my heart, which means an operation or even a heart transplant.
“It’s a bit worrying when you think about it all but I’ve just got to get over the fear of it happening again and see how I get on.”
When he does report for pre-season training, the teenager insists he will go at his own pace and avoid the threat of inflicting any further damage.
Symes said: “Most of the lads will have been keeping themselves fit over the break but I won’t be able to do anything so I need to go at my own pace and not try and keep up with everyone else.”
Last season, the former Bridport ace made 13 appearances for the first team, scoring his maiden goal for the club in spectacular style with a long-distance effort in the 1-1 draw at Blue Square Bet Premier-bound Dartford last December.
Understandably, Symes is keen to build on those statistics in 2012/13.
He added: “As soon as (former manager) Alan Knight was appointed, Jamie Gleeson picked up an injury and I came into the team.
“I then scored in the game against Dartford and played in a few more before dislocating my big toe, so I’ve not had the best of luck this past season.
“I’ve had quite a few setbacks but I’m a year older and hopefully I can push on again next season.
“Once I’m given the all-clear I’ll be looking to get back to full fitness and be ready for next season.
“You do feel a bit pressured being a local lad but Phil is always talking to the likes of me and Harrison Bell and saying that if we keep pushing we will get our chance.
“I think bringing the reserve team back last season was one of the best things to happen as playing those games helps keep you match-fit for if you’re needed in the first team.”