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Gregory Mertens’ condition deteriorates after heart problem


The condition of Belgian defender Gregory Mertens has deteriorated following his collapse on the pitch with a heart-related illness.
The 24-year-old Lokeren player is in a critical condition after being given CPR in the first half of Monday’s reserve-team game with Genk.
He is in an induced coma in a Genk hospital on a life support machine.
“His situation has deteriorated. We are waiting for the worst news to come,” a Lokeren spokesman said.
The Jupiler Pro League club say that the exact nature of Mertens’ heart condition has yet to be established.
They added that Mertens passed all the pre-season health tests required by Europe’s football governing body Uefa and was judged to be one of the fittest players at the club.
A former Belgium Under-21 international, Mertens joined Lokeren in the summer from Cercle Brugge and has played in 15 league games this term, as well as against Hull City in the Europa League in August.
Monday’s game was postponed while Mertens was being treated.
Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois and Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, both Belgium internationals, have tweeted their support for Mertens, saying: “Keep fighting Gregory”.

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