Former Luton defender forced to retire at just 28 due to heart issue

Fraser Franks in action for Newport County this season
Fraser Franks in action for Newport County this season

Former Luton Town defender Fraser Franks has been forced to retire from football at the age of just 28 due to a heart issue.

The centre half, who was with Newport County AFC, began his career with Brentford, before spells at Basingstoke, AFC Wimbledon, Hayes & Yeading, Newport and Welling United, heading to Kenilworth Road in January 2014.

Fraser Franks during his Luton days

Fraser Franks during his Luton days

He helped the Hatters win promotion back into the Football League, going on to play 34 times in total until joining Stevenage in July 2015.

After over 100 matches for the Boro, Franks signed for Newport again last summer, playing 34 times, scoring three goals this season, including in his final appearances, a 4-1 win at Notts County last month.

In a statement on Twitter, Franks said: “Hard to find words at the moment but obviously devastated to have to announce my retirement from professional football.

"After becoming ill last month and spending a week in hospital, I underwent a number of scans and tests on my heart.

"Cardiologists found an issue with the heart and I have been forced to retire from football.

"I've since had various second opinions and it's clear that I will have to take the medical advice and unfortunately call time on my playing career.

"I’d be lying if I said it hadn't been tough so far but as bad as it all seems now I’ve come to realise life goes on and there is a lot more I can achieve and look forward to.

"I've got some amazing family and friends around me and I'd like to thank them, and in my particular my wife for their support through this.

"We have our first child on the way in May which is the biggest blessing I could ask for.

"I won't be sitting around feeling sorry for myself, I’ll be working had to figure out what's next and hopefully remain in football in some capacity.

"A special thank you to everyone at Newport County AFC. Everyone at the club has been brilliant in supporting me through this process and I’ve loved my time here.

"Captaining the side in the FA Cup win over Leicester and having the chance to play against Manchester City will live long in the memory for me and my family.

"The news hasn’t fully sunk in, but I’m proud of what I achieved and that I managed to live my childhood dream of becoming a professional footballer.

"I've been able to play for some great clubs and have got memories to last a lifetime.

"I've always given it everything and never taken it for granted, and although it's ended a lot sooner than I expected, I have absolutely loved it.

"Thank you.”

Ex-Luton striker Mark Cullen, who won promotion with Franks while at Kenilworth Road, tweeted: "Sorry to hear this pal... good luck with what ever you do in the future," while another former Hatters Jon Shaw said: "All the best Fraze! Sorry to see the news but you’ve had a go at this game!

"Sure you’ll be a success going forward in whatever you do pal."