Sheffield Eagles boss Aston calls for heart tests after tragic death of rugby league player

Fans lay tributes to Danny Jones in the  Terry Hollindrake Stand at 'Keighley. Photo:  Bruce Rollinson
Fans lay tributes to Danny Jones in the Terry Hollindrake Stand at 'Keighley. Photo: Bruce Rollinson

Sheffield Eagles Director of Rugby Mark Aston has called on mandatory screening for all players after the tragic death of Keighley’s Danny Jones from a suspected cardiac arrest.

The world of Rugby League was left shocked on Sunday following the news that the Welsh international had passed away after suffering a suspected cardiac arrest, shortly after being substituted during Keighley’s match with London Skolars.

“It is absolutely devastating when something like this happens, it puts everything into perspective,” Aston told The Star.

“It is time now for every rugby league player to be checked. I believe that it happens in Super League, it isn’t mandatory in The Championship and below and it should be. We are all the same; we are playing the same game, so it needs to happen.”

Eagles’ prop Tony Tonks has been heavily involved with the charity Heartbeat of Sport, and has even helped organise screenings at his previous club Halifax.

“Tony Tonks has helped with a charity to have the screening done, and it is something that has been talked about,” Aston continued.

“Now after what has happened the importance in having this done is paramount, and this needs to be introduced across the board.

“Tony is very angry about it because he has spoken to the RFL previously about having this introduced. It is something that Tony has believed in passionately and this could have been averted, but it is too late. We had a player at Bradford who suffered a head injury and wasn’t allowed back on the field, yet we are not checking players for this, something has to be done.”

Jones, 29, previously played at Halifax and was well known to members of the Eagles set-up who took to social media to post their tributes. Aston admitted it was a quiet journey back from Bradford following the Eagles’ Championship fixture on Sunday, after the news was revealed of Jones’ condition.

“It is devastating news, he had two young children and a wife, it is very sad. It was a very sombre journey back on the bus from Bradford because we have players here who knew him and were former team mates of his. He was a great kid, a real gentleman and a talented player. It is a sad loss.”

Aston also confirmed that his players are set to make a donation to the Rugby League Benevolent Fund who have started raising funds for Jones’ family.