Express & Star

Stafford Town's Ben Herrington back in the goals after battling back from heart scare

When teenager Ben Herrington arrived for training in February, little did he know that hours later he would in hospital being told he had suffered a suspected heart attack.


Falling ill after a session when he was still with Stafford Rangers Under-18s, Herrington believed he was having an allergic reaction.

The striker – nicknamed ‘Whizza’ – said: “I thought I’d had an allergic reaction, but I got taken to hospital and then kept in all night waiting for tests to be done.

“It was eight o’clock in the morning and I was waiting in the waiting room where I’d been all night. I got taken into a room and they said ‘it’s not looking good, we think you could’ve had a heart attack’.”

Two weeks in hospital followed for the 19-year-old with an ample amount of checks.

High troponin levels usually seen in victims of a heart attack indicated he may have had one, but thankfully further tests revealed he hadn’t – and there are no long-lasting issues on his heart.

“I ended up staying there for two weeks,” said Herrington. “Luckily it wasn’t though, and there was no long-lasting damage on the heart, it was just temporary damage at the time.

“They were so shocked because my troponin levels were 175, they were way too high.”

Though the news may have been good, there were still concerns Herrington would not be able to play football again.

At the time, he was lining up for Boro’s under-18s, managed by former Tottenham and Ireland under-21 player Andy Turner, who helped him get back to his best.

“I had to have so many tests done, to begin with – I thought I could be out for a very long time or this could be it,” said the 19-year-old. “As the tests went on and the days went by and they said the tests were looking better day-by-day, the hope was coming back. But, in the first couple of days football wasn’t my first thought.

“After a couple of days I was feeling a bit better about myself and thinking can I get back to playing football again like I was before.

“It took a lot of work. I was with the academy and doing extra training with them.

“I was originally joining in with little bits of session and then full sessions before also doing some extra work after sessions with Andy Turner.

“I started playing 10 minutes, 15 minutes and then short periods of time before doing pre-season with Stafford Rangers’ first team, which was massive and unrealistic, but I still managed to do it.”

Since his experience, the 19-year-old has moved to Stafford Town, becoming a regular in their first team and banging in the goals for the North West Counties League Division One South play-off chasers.

The forward has bagged nine goals in 15 appearances for Adam Wall’s side so far, catching the eye of many teams above.

“I feel like I’ve hit the ground running,” he said. “I’ve had a couple of enquiries this season so far from step four and five clubs, but it’s just about making steady progress. I’m happy at Stafford Town, I feel like I’m doing something.

“At the end of this season it’s about moving up as high as I can and then keep trying to chip away.

“I take nothing for granted now and view life differently. I now know that I can overcome anything that comes my way.

“I’ve had a couple of injuries over the last year, but I know it could be a lot worse and I can come back stronger.”