Ex-Hatter Barnett forced to retire over heart condition
Former Luton Town defender Leon Barnett has been advised to retire from football because of a heart condition.
The 32-year-old, who is currently with League Two side Northampton Town, came through the ranks at Kenilworth Road in 2002, making 70 appearances and scoring three goals, but has been diagnosed with the condition that, according to professional medical opinion, would make it unsafe for him to continue training and playing.
Speaking about the centre half, Cobblers boss Keith Curle said: “We are all devastated for Leon.
“Leon had been having some issues but after a reaction in the Bury game we knew something wasn’t right, so we sent him for further testing.
“The medical team made the correct decision to stop all activity, and after testing and second and third opinions, for his own health and safety, Leon has been advised to retire.
“It is very sad news. Leon is not just a good player, but an important figure off the pitch too.
“However, far more importantly for Leon and his family, is that this has been diagnosed now and he is fit and well.
“He has enjoyed a fantastic career as a player, playing at all levels of the game to play over 350 senior games across the four divisions.
“As a club, we offer our full support to Leon and his family, we will honour his contract and we will help them however we possibly can. We know Leon is looking to gain coaching experience, and we have offered him the opportunity to undertake some coaching duties across all levels of the club, at both first team and academy level, over the rest of the season.”
Barnett left Luton when he was snapped up by West Bromwich Albion in July 2007 for a fee of £2.5 million, making 11 Premier League appearances during his time with the Baggies.
He had spells at Coventry, Norwich City, Cardiff, Wigan and Bury, before joining Northampton in May 2017, playing 24 times, including six games this season.